[Techtaffy Newsdesk]

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will provide eTrace, an electronic system used to trace illegal firearms, to Finland — in an ongoing effort to combat firearms trafficking.

The MOU establishes conditions of the partnership regarding the procedures to access and use eTrace services made available to law enforcement agencies in Finland.

eTrace is a paperless firearm trace submission system and trace analysis computer module that is  accessible through a secure connection to the World Wide Web.  This Internet application provides the necessary utilities for submitting, retrieving, storing and querying firearms trace-related information of firearms that have been recovered from crime scenes.

In calendar year 2010, the most recent year for which complete data is available, U.S. manufacturers legally exported more than 240,000 firearms.  From 1986 to 2010, more than 99,250,000 U.S.-made firearms have been put into legal commerce throughout the world – and many of those weapons are still in circulation.  Through eTrace, law enforcement has quick access to U.S. export records in order to follow the trail of a firearm to the crime scene.

ATF processed more than 333,800 crime-gun trace requests in 2011, which include traces from 70 countries.  Finland joins 33 other countries with formal agreements with ATF.

ATF is a law enforcement agency within the U.S. Department of Justice dedicated to preventing violent crime.