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Governor Announces Historic Partnership with ATF to Trace Illegal Firearms
For Immediate Release
August 15th, 2007
Contact Office of the Governor 609-777-2600
TRENTON - Governor Jon S. Corzine, along with Special Agent in Charge of the Philadelphia division of the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Mark Potter, Attorney General Anne Milgram and New Jersey State Police Superintendent Colonel Rick Fuentes today announced a historic agreement between New Jersey and the ATF that will allow the state to more effectively trace the sources of illegal firearms through real-time electronic access to the ATF’s e-Trace system.
"Gun violence in New Jersey and across America is stealing young lives and killing innocent people. Together, we must all do more to provide security for our communities and families," Corzine said. "This new, first-in-the-nation partnership will allow us to pursue, arrest and prosecute the purchasers and sellers of illegal guns that have plagued our streets and communities for far too long."
E-trace is a nationwide database maintained by the ATF that lists a firearm’s first purchaser, date of purchase and the retailer from which it was purchased. The information is compiled from police records of gun purchases provided by local departments, but until today was only accessible by the ATF and the police department that provided it.
"Firearms tracing identifies the illegal source of firearms and provides law enforcement invaluable leads to target firearms traffickers," said Special Agent Potter. "The New Jersey State Police and ATF have partnered in this country’s first of a kind state clearing house for gun tracing. The importance of this project cannot be minimized:
comprehensive firearms tracing saves lives."
"This is a critically important partnership to help us trace illegal guns that are used in crimes in New Jersey," Attorney General Anne Milgram said. "It will help us use intelligence-led policing to catch criminals and stop the spread of illegal guns."
The Attorney General also announced today that she is issuing a directive to all police departments in the state that will require the departments to forward all gun tracing information to E-Trace to create a data-base that can be shared by all law enforcement in the state. Currently, only 30 percent of local departments across the nation provide firearm sourcing information to the e-Trace system.
The new agreement will give the State Police real-time access to the system. State Police personnel at the Regional Operations Intelligence Center (the ROIC) will be on site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to identify source purchasers, source states, source vendors, types of weapons, dates of first purchases and individuals trafficking firearms into or within New Jersey.
"Partnering with the ATF, the New Jersey State Police will now have direct access to national firearms purchasing data. This will streamline the tracing of illegal firearms back to the source, giving us a better shot at finding and arresting the person who pulled the trigger," said Colonel Rick Fuentes.
Additionally, Governor Corzine has asked Colonel Fuentes to work with law enforcement partners in the Northeast region to encourage them to enter into similar agreements with ATF.
In 2006, 4,743 individuals were arrested in New Jersey for possession of illegal firearms.