There is no gun culture like America’s gun culture anywhere in the world, where there are more civilian-owned guns than the entire U.S. population. Though most owners use guns responsibly, many guns also end up being used in crime. When firearms are found at crime scenes, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives goes through a process to trace the gun’s origin and try to determine who was last in possession of it. And of all states, the ATF traced more guns in Louisiana than any other, relative to the population.
Gun sales remain extraordinarily high nationwide. The FBI conducts about 3 million firearm background checks a month, with at least half for new gun sales. Some firearms that are originally purchased legally end up being used in crimes or find their way to the black market. (Also see, the cities with the most guns traced to crime in every state.)
According to the ATF, the first step in tracing a gun is determining the manufacturer and/or importer of the gun, which then leads to the holder of the original Federal Firearms License that sold the gun. From there, the ATF finds firearm transaction records to identify the first purchaser and then investigate what that person did with the gun and whether it was still in their possession at the time a crime was committed.
In Louisiana, the ATF traced 13,702 guns in 2021, or 296.3 per 100,000 people, the most of any state. The most traced firearm chamber was a 9mm, with 5,727 traces, or 41.8% of the total. The second-most traced firearm chamber was a .40 caliber, with 1,757 traces, or 12.8% of the total. The third most traced firearm chamber was a .22 caliber, with 1,033 traces, or7.5% of the total. (Here are the firearm calibers used the most to commit crimes in the U.S.)
Only four other states had above 200 guns traced per 100,000 people in 2021. These are Tennessee at 219.9, North Calina at 217.2, Nevada at 212.7, and South Carolina at 205.4.
See 24/7 Wall St.’s list of how many guns used to commit crimes are traced in every state.
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