Just over half of the guns recovered in Mexico in 2016 are untraceable, according to a federal report published this week.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives released international tracing data Wednesday for Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean gathered through the agency’s National Tracing Center.
While overall traces for guns found in Mexico declined 24 percent over 2015, unsuccessful traces hold steady at 51 percent, according to report findings. Authorities traced more than 13,000 guns from Mexico last year, with just over 46 percent leading back to retailers in the United States. The remaining 2 percent traced back to foreign countries.
“Firearms tracing provides valuable investigative leads, specific trend data for ATF and its international partners, and information on the movement of a firearm from the manufacturer or importer through the distribution chain in an attempt to identify its first retail purchaser,” the agency said in a press release Wednesday.
The report offered several explanations for the untraceable guns, including missing or incomplete paperwork provided by a federally licensed firearms dealer, obliterated serial numbers, or recovering guns “too old to trace.”