‘Guns Found Here’ is a Paper Trail That Deserves Your Attention

There’s a million and one things that could be said about gun control in America.

Like that there are more gun stores in the U.S.A. than McDonald’s, Starbucks, and supermarkets combined. Or that in the 2016 US presidential election, the NRA spent $11,438,118 to support Donald Trump and $19,756,346 to oppose Hillary Clinton.

But 10-minute documentary short Guns Found Here doesn’t try and tackle the problem as a whole, or even offer up a solution. Instead, director David Freid narrows in on one minuscule part of a very big problem: the archaic paper maze that is the ATF National Tracing Center.

When a gun crime occurs in America, the authorities contact the ATF to trace a weapon to its owner. In a logical world, an office such as this would have a highly efficient, searchable database of records in order to deal with the 8,000 active traces (ie. gun crimes) they receive with each day. Not so. Prohibited from making a digital database, every single search is done with human hands, while thousands of new gun purchase records continue to pour in per week. With the stilted timing of the characters and 90s machinery, the whole thing could almost be a scene from The Office—if it weren’t so terrifying. Press play above.

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