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United States Government Accountability Office wants Belize and other Central American countries to send more data on firearms trafficking

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Posted: Friday, January 14, 2022. 9:36 pm CST.

By Benjamin Flowers: The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) is calling on Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, to share more data on firearms trafficking to enable US law enforcement agencies to better combat illicit firearms trade, Homeland Security Today reports.

While reducing the illegal trade of firearms within the four countries is not currently a focus of the US government, GAO said that obtaining more firearms trafficking data would assist in the development of effective programs that would reduce the availability of illicit firearms. State officials recently told a GAO review that plans are being formed to either develop new projects or modify existing projects which focus on the firearms trade in the four countries, and that sufficient information from each country would alleviate some difficulty in tailoring specific interventions for unique to each country.

The call for greater data sharing follows the review of data from the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), for firearms trace requests from the four countries.

“ATF tracing data reviewed by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) for approximately 27,000 firearms recovered from 2015 through 2019—the most recent data available—show that 40 percent came from the U.S. and the rest from 39 other countries. ATF data also indicate that almost half of the U.S.-sourced firearms were likely diverted from legitimate commerce in the four countries rather than smuggled from the U.S,” Homeland Security Today said.

State officials have reportedly agreed with the GAO on the need for greater information sharing, and plan to source that information through U.S. embassies and interagency working groups.

 

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