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    That Instant Gun Trace You See on TV? Pure Fantasy

    They’re in the line of fire. Fifty ATF employees at the National Tracing Center in West Virginia take their best shot at matching U.S. guns and owners without a database. Lobbyists successfully pushed against a national gun registry, and the center is forbidden from having centralized computer data. So, working with microfilm and paper records, tracers field about 1,500 daily requests to help identify gun purchasers. “Urgent” requests get handled in 24 hours, but most take a week, with tracers having to sift through “a bunch of friggin’ boxes.”

    Planned Inefficiency


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