Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms sole purpose is to prevent the unlawful use and possession of firearms around the country.
On Tuesday, agents made a stop in Duluth to talk with licensed firearms dealers in the Northland.
Federal agents say the first step in prevention begins with the retailer.
According to agents with the ATF, proper practice for licensing and documenting firearms is one way to keep weapons out of the hands of criminals. It also helps when it comes to investigating gun related crimes.
While firearms are considered by many as the best weapon of defense, Federal officials want to keep them from ending up in the wrong hands.
"If things aren't documented properly, we run into the risk of not being able to determine who the original purchaser of a firearm is for instance recovered at a crime scene."
Robert Schmidt with ATF says with more 124,000 federally licensed firearm dealers in the U.S., and only 650 inspectors, these seminars are the best ways to get sellers up to code.
"This is an opportune time for us to address a large amount of people in a short period of time to make sure they are documenting everything properly," said Robert Schmidt, Public Information Officer, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Mary Jo Hughes Director of Industry Operations with ATF makes it her priority to make sure dealers are compliant.
"Our intent is to educate those licensee's who've been entrusted with a license selling firearms to the public," said Hughes.
One of those federally licensed dealers is Pat Kukull, owner of Superior Shooters Supply who is pleased with the proactive partnership with the ATF.
"I'm very happy that they have made a sincere effort on educating the dealers," said Pat Kukull, owner Superior Shooters Supply.
But when a weapon ends up in the hands of the wrong person, ATF officials initiate a firearms trace, a method used to link suspects to firearms by a series of calls to the manufacturer, and dealer and that's where the partnership begins.
By law, Federal Firearms License holders are required to keep a registry of firearms sales in an ATF approved Bound Book.
"There's a lot of records so you hopefully have a lot of storage space, and it is up to you (the dealer) to keep those records, they will call often," said Kukull.
ATF officials say they trace approximately 340,000 firearms nationally each year, and with proper documentation from dealers of the sale of firearms, authorities will have a better weapon against crime.
When it comes to the private sale of firearms, ATF officials encourage sellers to document everything about the firearm including serial number for future tracing purposes.
According to ATF, Federal Firearm Licensed sellers must keep records of the transaction for a period of no less than 20 years after the date of sale.