Everytown sues ATF over records request

Gun control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety has sued the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for withholding public records, according to a complaint filed in a New York federal court on July 23.

The ATF failed to respond to a Freedom of Information Act request for aggregate trace data that includes the “time to crime” for firearms picked up at crime scenes in each state for years 1998 to 2005, the lawsuit says.

“Failure to release records containing information vital to a public debate — records that ATF is statutorily obligated to provide upon request — has left Everytown no choice but to file this lawsuit,” the lawsuit says.

The ATF is the only federal law enforcement agency tasked with tracing firearms recovered from crime scenes, the lawsuit says. To collect the data, the agency uses the gun’s serial number and other descriptive details to trace it back to the original seller and buyer.

Currently, the ATF hosts trace data — which includes total number of guns recovered, where it sold and recovered, time to crime, etc — by state on its website dating back to 2006.

Although the ATF released trace data for the dates Everytown requested, the agency excluded the “time to crime” element and has either dodged or ignored appeals and follow-up requests since 2013, the lawsuit says.

“There is a significant public interest in shedding light on the patterns of illegal gun trafficking, and the aggregate data requested is among the most valuable sources of information about firearms taken from unlawful possessors or recovered from crime scenes,” the lawsuit says about why the data should be readily available.

“Understanding the circumstances under which illegal firearms have been transferred from person-to-person — and ultimately to crime scenes — is critical for learning how to better keep guns out of dangerous hands,” the lawsuit continues.

Everytown has not asked for damages, but instead asked for the records and the court to waive court costs. The ATF has 60 days to respond to the complaint.

Latest Reviews

  • Tuck & Carry: CCW in a Skirt

    Aimed at those who want the comfort and convenience of a skirt but with the protection of a holstered gun, the Tuck & Carry occupies what I term apparel holsters -- that is clothing/holster duos.

    Read More
  • The Marlin Dark in .45-70 is Stealthy and Modern

    Flash forward the lever gun of Western lore to the 2020s, where Marlin has taken that classic design and given it a modern upgrade. Meet the Marlin Dark.

    Read More
  • Gear Review: Sig Sauer Tango 6T 1-6

    Sig Sauer has long been a big name in the firearms industry, so it came as no surprise several years ago when Sig filled out its repertoire with its own optics line. Today, we’re looking at the Tango 6T, a 1-6 low power variable optic.

    Read More
  • First Look: Hornady 6mm ARC

    Hornady brought another impressive project to the shooting public in 2020 with the introduction of the 6mm Advanced Rifle Cartridge.

    Read More

Loading