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July 10, 2024

Rep. Schiff Introduces Critical Bill to Enhance Public Transparency and Data on the Activities of Firearms and Regulatory Industries

Washington, D.C.— Today, Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) introduced the ATF Data and Anti-Trafficking Accountability (DATA) Act, a critical bill to enhance public transparency regarding the activities of the firearms industry and the regulatory functions of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). The comprehensive legislation will require the ATF to publish an annual report including aggregated trace data to better inform anti-trafficking strategies.

“Ensuring that policymakers, researchers, and law enforcement agencies have the information and resources they need to stem the flow of trafficked guns is crucial to keeping our communities safe,” said Rep. Schiff. “My ATF DATA Act will make that happen by providing detailed and regular insights into gun trafficking patterns. The critical insights gained from this bill will help to inform gun safety for years to come.”

“Once elected, President Biden directed the DOJ to publish annual firearms commerce and trafficking reports. The ATF’s National Firearms Commerce and Trafficking Assessment investigations on firearm trafficking showed that nearly 230,000 firearms were trafficked in 7,779 cases between 2017 and 2021. Gun trafficking was made a federal crime when the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act was signed into law by President Biden in 2022. Congress must pass the ATF DATA Act to ensure that these reports are published annually for us to better understand the scope of the problem and to hold the bad actors accountable for arming prohibited individuals in the U.S. and beyond,” said Po Murray, Chairwoman, Newtown Action Alliance. 

Specifically, the ATF DATA Act would require the ATF to publish an annual report with aggregated trace data, including:

  • Characteristics of Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) to which crime guns were traced in the preceding year, including the number of firearms traced to dealers based on their license type, the duration between firearm sales and their recovery in crime, the types of crime associated with the recovered firearms, and the 200 FFLs to which the highest number of crime guns were traced.
  • Types of firearms being recovered, including the most common manufacturers, models, finishes, and barrel lengths of traced firearms, and data on privately made firearms, commonly known as “ghost guns.”
  • Data on how firearms are being purchased and diverted to the illegal market, including data on multiple sales and lost or stolen firearms, and a comprehensive overview of firearm trafficking patterns and firearm trafficking investigations undertaken by the DOJ.
  • Geographical data on recovered crime guns, both domestic and international, including their sources, recoveries, and recovering agencies, with disaggregated data from areas with the highest homicide rates and total homicides, as well as trace data from the law enforcement agencies that request the most traces.

The ATF DATA Act is cosponsored by Representatives Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C), Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.), Daniel S. Goldman (D.N.Y), and Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.).

The bill is also supported by Brady, Giffords, Everytown, March for Our Lives, Newtown Action Alliance, American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and Guns Down America.

Read the full bill here.