Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced a new Track + Trace initiative to decrease gun trafficking and illegal transfers, so illegal guns are taken out of neighborhoods across the state.

The initiative, which was introduced Thursday morning in Erie, is a collaborative, data-driven approach that involved law enforcement, gun retailers and gun owners.

It uses a statewide database to allow law enforcement to track each and every gun used in a crime back to its original owner, which Shapiro said will make a big impact on the epidemic.

"Gun violence is an epidemic that is claiming the lives of 1,500 Pennsylvanians every year," said Shapiro. "It touches all of us - from daily shootings to suicides across the Commonwealth."

This initiative is by no means a new gun law, Shapiro is simply ensuring all law enforcement agencies across the commonwealth are enforcing the laws on the books, by tracking guns used in crimes, “Every serial number on a gun tells a story, and we are committed to find out where these stories begin and holding people committing gun crimes responsible,” said Shapiro.

Shapiro made the announcement in Erie, he says because of the strides the city has taken in combating gun violence over the past several years, with programs like Unified Erie and pro-active gun policing.
Erie police have been regularly reporting serial numbers of guns seized in crimes for at least 10 years, through a state system called E-Trace and the State Police National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN). Track + Trace is ensuring all law enforcement in PA are doing the same thing.

Shapiro said Track + Trace will:

  • Ensure crime guns are uploaded efficiently into shared law enforcement databases in accordance with Pennsylvania law
  • Facilitate conversations with local police departments to ensure data input is occurring across Pennsylvania
  • Form Track + Trace Working group – a top-tier, collaborative partnership of federal, state & local law enforcement that will focus on increasing information sharing and identifying trends
  • Work with gun retailers to increase use of electronic record of sale, moving away from current slow-moving paper records, to allow law enforcement to quickly trace crime guns
  • Educate Pennsylvania consumers on the consequences of serious crimes like straw purchases and illegal transfers
  • Elevate the importance of safe storage to keep guns safe from ending up in the hands of people who are a danger to themselves or others

You can learn more about the initiative here.