FRIDAY, APRIL 2, 2010   ■   NEWS

United States, Belgium Sign eTrace Agreement

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will provide eTrace, an electronic firearms tracing system, to Belgium to strengthen its efforts to combat firearms trafficking.

The MOU establishes conditions of the partnership between ATF and the Belgian Federal Police regarding access and use of eTrace services that are made available to law enforcement agencies. The document was signed by ATF and Belgian officials in their respective countries.

ATF's eTrace is a firearms trace request submission system and interactive trace analysis module that facilitates firearms tracing and assists ATF's efforts to combat firearms trafficking. eTrace provides the electronic exchange of crime gun incident data in a Web-based environment with a portal to the Firearms Tracing System (FTS) database. The system provides real-time capabilities that allow law enforcement agencies to submit electronic firearms trace requests, monitor the progress of traces, retrieve completed trace results and query firearms trace-related data in the FTS database. It also allows registered users to initiate a search on virtually any data field or combination of data elements such as firearm serial numbers, an individual's name, a type of crime, date of recovery or other identifiers. Registered eTrace users also can generate statistical reports on the number of traces submitted, the top firearms traced, the average time-to-crime rates and other variables.

ATF processed more than 340,000 crime-gun trace requests in fiscal year 2009. To date, more than 2,800 U.S. law enforcement agencies and 29 foreign countries use eTrace in their investigative work.

ATF is a law enforcement agency within the U.S. Department of Justice dedicated to preventing violent crime. More information on ATF and its programs and resources is a