Special Report

States Where the Most Guns Are Traced by the Federal Government

Handout / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Deadly gun violence has been on the rise in the United States for years. Including both murder and suicide, 48,830 Americans were killed by firearms in 2021, both a record-high and a 23% increase from 2019. When it comes to gun violence in America, these incidents are only the tip of the iceberg. A total of 690,158 violent crimes – such as robbery and aggravated assault – were reported to the FBI in 2021, and over a third of them involved a gun. 

When firearms are recovered at crime scenes, they are often reported to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives for tracing. In these cases, the ATF uses the serial number, make and model, and other markings of the firearm to identify its origin, all the way back to its original retail sale. This information can be invaluable in linking individuals to specific firearms and identifying criminal suspects during an investigation. (Here is a look at the senators doing the most to regulate guns.)

More than 453,000 firearms were traced by the ATF in 2021, but federal assistance in gun crime investigations is far more common in some states than in others. 

Using 2021 data from the ATF, 24/7 Wall St. identified the states where the most guns are traced by the federal government. States are ranked by the number of firearms traced by the ATF for every 100,000 people in the state. Population adjustment calculations were made using population data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey. 

It is important to note that while federal firearm tracings are typically conducted as part of criminal investigations, not all traced guns are necessarily used in the commission of a crime and not all firearms used in crimes are traced. 

Depending on the state, the number of firearms traced in 2021 ranges from 115 to over 54,000. Adjusting for population, gun-tracing rates go from as low as 8 for every 100,000 people up to nearly 300 per 100,000. 

Nationwide, pistols – specifically semi-automatic handguns – are the best-selling type of firearm. In every state, pistols account for the largest share of traced guns, accounting for over 80% of all tracings in some parts of the country. 

Not surprisingly, the most commonly traced firearm calibers are those most usually found in handguns. These include firearms chambered for ammunition in .40 caliber, .380 caliber, and 9mm, the most commonly traced caliber nationwide. (Here is a look at how hard it is to buy a handgun in every state.)

Click here to see states where the most guns are traced by the federal government.

50. Hawaii
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 8.0 per 100,000 people (115 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 46.1% pistols, 9.6% revolvers, 30.4% rifles, 9.6% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (21 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (13 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: 12GA (8 total)

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49. Maine
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 37.4 per 100,000 people (513 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 56.1% pistols, 12.3% revolvers, 20.7% rifles, 9.0% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (176 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (65 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .45 Cal (36 total)

48. Vermont
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 37.6 per 100,000 people (243 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 54.3% pistols, 10.7% revolvers, 24.3% rifles, 9.9% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (72 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (42 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: 12GA (21 total)

47. Connecticut
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 44.8 per 100,000 people (1,617 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 74.3% pistols, 11.2% revolvers, 8.0% rifles, 5.5% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (647 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .40 Cal (158 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (149 total)

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46. Massachusetts
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 46.1 per 100,000 people (3,222 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 71.8% pistols, 10.5% revolvers, 11.0% rifles, 5.6% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (1,338 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (291 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .40 Cal (281 total)

45. New Jersey
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 50.6 per 100,000 people (4,685 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 72.6% pistols, 12.5% revolvers, 8.5% rifles, 5.3% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (1,905 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .40 Cal (453 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (421 total)

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44. New Hampshire
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 50.8 per 100,000 people (705 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 57.3% pistols, 10.6% revolvers, 19.4% rifles, 10.2% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (242 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (72 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: 12GA (56 total)

43. Wyoming
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 51.5 per 100,000 people (298 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 50.7% pistols, 11.7% revolvers, 26.5% rifles, 8.1% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (79 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (49 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .45 Cal (24 total)

42. New York
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 52.0 per 100,000 people (10,310 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 69.3% pistols, 12.8% revolvers, 9.8% rifles, 5.8% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (3,906 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .380 Cal (1,065 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (966 total)

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41. Rhode Island
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 60.8 per 100,000 people (666 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 76.3% pistols, 9.5% revolvers, 8.6% rifles, 5.1% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (299 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .40 Cal (69 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .380 Cal (52 total)

40. Washington
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 72.2 per 100,000 people (5,586 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 62.7% pistols, 9.6% revolvers, 16.7% rifles, 9.5% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (1,866 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (638 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: 12GA (428 total)

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39. Idaho
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 72.4 per 100,000 people (1,376 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 65.0% pistols, 11.8% revolvers, 15.0% rifles, 6.8% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (486 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (163 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .45 Cal (120 total)

38. Iowa
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 80.7 per 100,000 people (2,576 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 69.2% pistols, 7.6% revolvers, 13.1% rifles, 9.2% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (1,116 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (307 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .40 Cal (198 total)

37. Minnesota
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 80.7 per 100,000 people (4,605 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 74.2% pistols, 7.3% revolvers, 9.9% rifles, 7.9% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (2,159 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .40 Cal (404 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (388 total)

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36. Utah
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 90.8 per 100,000 people (3,030 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 68.9% pistols, 8.0% revolvers, 14.7% rifles, 7.4% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (1,206 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (389 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .40 Cal (228 total)

35. South Dakota
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 92.9 per 100,000 people (832 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 54.9% pistols, 10.8% revolvers, 19.8% rifles, 11.8% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (256 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (129 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: 12GA (78 total)

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34. West Virginia
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 95.2 per 100,000 people (1,698 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 63.8% pistols, 11.2% revolvers, 14.8% rifles, 8.2% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (586 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (197 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .380 Cal (157 total)

33. North Dakota
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 100.4 per 100,000 people (778 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 56.2% pistols, 10.5% revolvers, 20.2% rifles, 11.6% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (240 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (112 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: 12GA (68 total)

32. Montana
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 107.6 per 100,000 people (1,188 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 47.4% pistols, 9.7% revolvers, 30.5% rifles, 10.4% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (272 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (175 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: 12GA (88 total)

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31. Alaska
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 108.8 per 100,000 people (797 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 63.5% pistols, 8.7% revolvers, 16.8% rifles, 9.7% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (208 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (102 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .45 Cal (80 total)

30. Nebraska
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 114.1 per 100,000 people (2,240 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 57.9% pistols, 9.2% revolvers, 21.1% rifles, 10.3% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (731 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (368 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: 12GA (180 total)

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29. Arkansas
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 117.0 per 100,000 people (3,541 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 75.5% pistols, 7.0% revolvers, 11.6% rifles, 4.7% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (1,472 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .40 Cal (411 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (323 total)

28. Pennsylvania
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 118.6 per 100,000 people (15,370 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 72.8% pistols, 9.3% revolvers, 10.8% rifles, 5.9% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (6,895 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .40 Cal (1,387 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (1,286 total)

27. Wisconsin
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 119.8 per 100,000 people (7,062 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 80.2% pistols, 6.3% revolvers, 8.0% rifles, 4.9% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (3,575 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .40 Cal (699 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (531 total)

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26. Colorado
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 121.3 per 100,000 people (7,051 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 69.8% pistols, 9.3% revolvers, 12.6% rifles, 7.3% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (2,688 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .40 Cal (676 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (641 total)

25. Michigan
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 122.7 per 100,000 people (12,329 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 80.5% pistols, 5.5% revolvers, 8.5% rifles, 3.6% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (5,863 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .40 Cal (1,521 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .380 Cal (771 total)

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24. Oregon
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 128.6 per 100,000 people (5,459 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 59.8% pistols, 11.4% revolvers, 19.8% rifles, 7.8% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (1,795 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (723 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .40 Cal (430 total)

23. Oklahoma
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 133.0 per 100,000 people (5,302 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 73.6% pistols, 8.3% revolvers, 10.7% rifles, 6.0% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (2,129 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .40 Cal (541 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (493 total)

22. California
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 138.5 per 100,000 people (54,338 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 67.7% pistols, 9.9% revolvers, 14.2% rifles, 6.4% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (21,437 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .40 Cal (5,504 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (4,989 total)

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21. Virginia
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 141.0 per 100,000 people (12,184 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 75.9% pistols, 7.5% revolvers, 10.5% rifles, 5.2% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (5,442 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .40 Cal (1,409 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (898 total)

20. Kansas
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 146.6 per 100,000 people (4,303 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 73.1% pistols, 8.4% revolvers, 10.9% rifles, 6.2% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (1,764 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .40 Cal (450 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (426 total)

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19. Kentucky
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 151.1 per 100,000 people (6,812 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 74.4% pistols, 7.1% revolvers, 13.8% rifles, 3.7% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (2,936 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .40 Cal (693 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .380 Cal (490 total)

18. Illinois
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 151.4 per 100,000 people (19,188 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 80.7% pistols, 7.9% revolvers, 6.2% rifles, 3.9% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (9,444 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .40 Cal (2,325 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .45 Cal (1,300 total)

17. Indiana
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 152.1 per 100,000 people (10,349 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 77.8% pistols, 7.5% revolvers, 8.6% rifles, 5.0% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (4,799 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .40 Cal (1,116 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (805 total)

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16. Texas
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 154.5 per 100,000 people (45,618 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 79.0% pistols, 6.3% revolvers, 9.0% rifles, 4.4% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (21,189 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .40 Cal (5,321 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .380 Cal (3,289 total)

15. Florida
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 158.4 per 100,000 people (34,491 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 75.9% pistols, 8.4% revolvers, 8.6% rifles, 4.3% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (14,889 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .40 Cal (3,573 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .380 Cal (3,015 total)

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14. Maryland
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 159.9 per 100,000 people (9,857 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 63.6% pistols, 8.7% revolvers, 15.9% rifles, 10.4% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (3,689 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .40 Cal (969 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (861 total)

13. Mississippi
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 160.8 per 100,000 people (4,744 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 74.2% pistols, 7.5% revolvers, 12.1% rifles, 5.4% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (2,074 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .40 Cal (530 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (397 total)

12. Missouri
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 165.6 per 100,000 people (10,213 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 79.3% pistols, 6.7% revolvers, 8.0% rifles, 4.3% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (4,361 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .40 Cal (1,348 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .45 Cal (728 total)

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11. Arizona
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 166.5 per 100,000 people (12,113 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 74.0% pistols, 5.4% revolvers, 11.5% rifles, 5.0% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (5,215 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .40 Cal (1,119 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (934 total)

10. Delaware
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 167.2 per 100,000 people (1,678 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 72.8% pistols, 7.7% revolvers, 9.5% rifles, 9.2% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (778 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (158 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .40 Cal (139 total)

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9. Alabama
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 175.5 per 100,000 people (8,847 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 77.9% pistols, 9.1% revolvers, 7.9% rifles, 4.3% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (3,851 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .40 Cal (1,043 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .380 Cal (735 total)

8. Ohio
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 176.8 per 100,000 people (20,826 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 81.6% pistols, 7.3% revolvers, 6.7% rifles, 3.5% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (10,531 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .40 Cal (2,178 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .380 Cal (1,560 total)

7. Georgia
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 189.6 per 100,000 people (20,472 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 79.8% pistols, 7.1% revolvers, 8.1% rifles, 4.0% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (9,708 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .40 Cal (2,431 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .380 Cal (1,509 total)

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6. New Mexico
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 194.4 per 100,000 people (4,114 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 65.4% pistols, 7.8% revolvers, 15.3% rifles, 6.9% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (1,577 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (459 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .40 Cal (317 total)

5. South Carolina
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 206.4 per 100,000 people (10,713 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 77.8% pistols, 8.5% revolvers, 8.0% rifles, 5.0% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (4,872 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .40 Cal (1,151 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .380 Cal (861 total)

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4. Nevada
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 214.2 per 100,000 people (6,735 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 79.5% pistols, 6.8% revolvers, 7.4% rifles, 4.5% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (3,319 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .40 Cal (619 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (485 total)

3. North Carolina
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 219.0 per 100,000 people (23,104 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 71.3% pistols, 8.6% revolvers, 11.7% rifles, 6.9% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (9,554 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .40 Cal (2,328 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (1,861 total)

2. Tennessee
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 222.7 per 100,000 people (15,531 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 77.6% pistols, 8.1% revolvers, 8.5% rifles, 3.7% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (6,679 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .40 Cal (1,933 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .380 Cal (1,095 total)

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1. Louisiana
> Firearms traced by the ATF in 2021: 298.9 per 100,000 people (13,823 total)
> Firearm tracings by type: 73.6% pistols, 8.3% revolvers, 11.4% rifles, 5.4% shotguns
> Most common caliber/gauge traced: 9mm (5,727 total)
> 2nd most common caliber/gauge traced: .40 Cal (1,757 total)
> 3rd most common caliber/gauge traced: .22 Cal (1,033 total)

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