Home PoA Implementation Kit

Brokering Control


United States
: National Report on the Implementation of the PoA, 2010 and 2008 
: 06/05/2011
National Report
: Ms. Stephanie Pico, Policy Officer (SA/LW)
: PicoSL@state.gov

National laws, regulations and administrative procedures:

U.S. laws and regulations on import, export, manufacture, brokering and marking of SA/LW are available at www.pmdtc.org & www.atf.treas.gov



National Marking Practices:

All licensed importers and manufacturers are required to mark each firearm manufactured or imported into the United States with the serial number, make, model, and caliber or gauge of the firearm, as well as the name, city, and state or foreign country of the manufacturer, and if imported, the city and state of the importer. Confiscated firearms retained for official use are marked if not already marked. Since the 2001 UN Conference on SA/LW, ATF has established specific height (1/16th inch) and depth (0.003 inch) marking requirements for licensees who import or manufacture firearms.

Marking at the time of import:

Marking of SALW in the possession of government armed and security forces:

Measures against the removal or alteration of markings:


Accurate and comprehensive records for all marked SALW within their territory:

Commercial manufacturers are required to maintain permanent records of the manufacture, exports and other acquisition of firearms. Licensed importers of all defense articles must maintain records for 6 years and exporters of defense articles for 5 years. Certain firearms (e.g. machine guns) must be registered under the National Firearms Act. All licensed dealers must maintain Firearms Transaction Records of all sales and transfers (Form 4473) of firearms for not less than 20 years. When/if dealers go out of business; they are required to submit these records to ATF for permanent retention. Exporters registered with the Department of State must maintain records for at least 5 years. The Department of Defense (DOD) has a central register administered by the U.S. Army Logistical Support Activity (LOGSA), which is responsible for the serialization and accountability of all DOD SA/LW. Under the AECA, manufacturers, exporters, temporary importers, and brokers of defense articles, including SA/LW, must register with DOS (Form DS-2032). Records must be maintained by each registrant in readable form and available at all times for review by DOS Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) for five years from the last event or expiration.


Measures taken for undertaking traces and responding to tracing requests

DOS, DOD, and U.S. Customs authorities exchange information and work to increase international cooperation in controlling the export of U.S.-origin munitions. ATF provides technical advice and legal assistance in implementing integrated ballistic imaging systems, and national and regional tracing centers. The NTC assists countries in tracing U.S.-origin arms used in criminal activities. From 1994 to 2006, over 200,000 such traces were conducted on behalf of foreign law enforcement agencies. ATF generally receives 300,000 requests per year, of which 50,000 are from foreign law enforcement agencies. Parts of the core course as well as specialized courses provide training in the identification and tracing of illegal weapons. Within the G-8 Lyon-Roma Group, the United States has supported cooperation in illicit arms tracing among G-8 countries. The United States signed eTrace agreements with all seven Central American states, and 14 of the 15 Caribbean states and will launch in early 2010 a Spanish version of the program to increase use in Spanish speaking countries. The Department of Justice (DOJ) participates in biannual Senior Law Enforcement Plenary meetings with counterparts in Mexico and the annual U.S.-Canada Cross-border Crime Forum to address cross-border firearms trafficking and other bilateral issues.

Operational Informaton Exchange:

The U.S. has provided a report on national firearms marking practices to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Organization of American States (OAS). The United States cooperates extensively and shares information with Interpol and the World Customs Organization (WCO), including in international arms trafficking investigations. ATF provides technical, legal and programmatic information on currently accepted U.S. best practices for marking and tracing in numerous international fora. ATF also offers a Basic Firearms Identification Course for international law enforcement professionals, which provides training on marking techniques and firearms identification. In December 2000, the United States and SADC completed the U.S.-SADC Declaration on UN Sanctions and Restraint in Sale and Transfer of Conventional Arms to Regions of Conflict in Africa. In July 2007, SICA member states and the U.S. issued a joint declaration on security issues. On December 3, 2007 CARICOM and the U.S. issued the joint initiative “CARICOM – U.S. Partnership to Combat Illicit Trafficking in Arms.” The U.S. shares information on a bilateral basis with Interpol. The U.S. is also working with Interpol in the development of a Web-based tracing mechanism for SA/LW.

Needs and Request for Assistance::

Implementation challenges and opportunities:


The United States actively participated in the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) on marking and tracing illicit SA/LW.