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The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives traced more than 211,000 guns back to their original point of purchase on behalf of law enforcement agencies in 2016. Of those, roughly 71 percent were originally sold in the state they were found, while the rest were from out of state. This interactive map shows the pattern of how guns move from state to state.

Expand chart
Note: Map shows only the top 10 out-of-state sources for traces run from each state; Data: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Chart: Chris Canipe

Why it matters: It's often impossible to establish the chain of ownership from owner to original point of sale. Firearms legally change hands without a paper trail through private purchases, including those made at gun shows. Additional restrictions on how records can be stored can make the entire chain even harder to trace.

Most ATF traces are run at the request of law enforcement agencies seeking information on guns recovered at crime scenes or confiscated during traffic stops. Not all recovered firearms are traced, but those that are can tell us a lot about how guns move between states. Here are some key takeaways from the data: Roughly 71 percent of guns traced by the ATF in 2016 originate in the same state in which they were confiscated. Washington, D.C. had the highest ratio of out-of-state traces at 96 percent. New Jersey and New York were the next highest, at 79 percent and 73 percent. States with stricter gun laws tend to have more traces originating in neighboring states. Illinois requires background checks for private sales and a 72-hour waiting periods for handgun purchases. Neighboring Indiana does not. Thirty percent of out-of-state guns in Illinois originated from Indiana. Go deeper: Gun Laws Stop At State Lines, But Guns Don't

Go deeper

Biden's pick to lead major banking regulator drops out

Saule Omarova, nominee for Comptroller of the Currency, at a confirmation hearing on Nov. 18. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

President Biden's pick to head one of the country's most powerful banking regulators is dropping out of consideration for the post, according to a statement from Biden that accepted the withdrawal.

Why it matters: Saule Omarova, nominated to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, faced a tough path to confirmation — with opposition from Republicans and moderate Democrats.

Judge temporarily blocks Biden vaccine mandate for federal contractors

President Biden delivers remarks at the White House on Dec. 6 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images

A federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked President Biden's vaccine mandate for federal contractors nationwide.

Why it matters: It's the latest setback in the Biden administration's rollout of COVID vaccine requirements. Federal judges in two states temporarily barred the administration from enforcing mandates for millions of workers last week.

Biden threatens Putin

Photo: Kremlin Press Office/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

In a video call that lasted for just over two hours on Tuesday, President Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that if Russia invades Ukraine the U.S. will impose unprecedented sanctions and provide additional weaponry to the Ukrainians, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said.

Why it matters: Russia's military activity on the border with Ukraine has triggered alarms from the U.S. and its European allies of a potential large-scale Russian invasion in early 2022. Sullivan said Biden made clear to Putin that, "things we did not do in 2014, we are prepared to do now."

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