Nearly a quarter of a million firearms were criminally traced in the United States by the ATF last year, that’s according to a new report released this week. Texas ranked third with nearly 16,000 guns traced.
Thousands of guns taken off the streets of Austin are currently locked up in a closely guarded storage room. Some of them were traced with the assistance of Michael Cargill. Cargill owns Central Texas Gun Works. He was asked last year by federal agents to search his records on nearly a half dozen firearms sold from his store.
"These were all stolen firearms so a lawful gun owner purchased a firearm and they were stolen from them from their home or vehicle or somewhere like that,” said Cargill.
Incidents like that are documented in a new ATF report. 15,977 firearms, in 2014, were recovered and traced in Texas. The bulk originated from a location within the Lone Star State but about 6,000 were traced back to locations in the Southeast and Southwest. The information is used to identify trends and smuggling operations.
"A lot of guns are going south. That continues to be our missions here in SE Texas and all the way down to the border is trying to stop that flow of guns going south,” said ATF spokesperson Nicole Strong.
The top cities in Texas for gun recoveries were Houston, Dallas and Austin. It's a big jump in ranking for the Capital City. In 2012, Austin had fewer than 300 recoveries and was behind seven other metro areas. The recent spike may be attributed to a new APD firearms tip line that targets felons. The tip line was profiled recently in a FOX 7 Crime Watch report.
According to the ATF report, the majority of guns recovered were pistols, followed by rifles, revolvers and shotguns. Most were taken from individuals between the age of 25 and 40. Nearly 6,000 guns were directly connected to a criminal act.
The report also clearly indicates that federal agents are out gunned. To address that, gun shops are being asked to help. That request, according to Michael Cargill, was made recently to him. According to Cargill, he has received briefings on how to identify indicators of terrorist activities which he admits is a fine line between being aware and profiling.
“I think we do a very good job here, of basically if you see something say something. If something is not right you need to say something because you don’t want one of your firearms, I don’t want one of my firearms used in a crime, I don’t want to see it on the news,” said Cargill.