(The Center Square) – Mass shootings have become a tragic staple in the American news cycle. According to the nonprofit organization Gun Violence Archive, there were over 640 mass shootings in the U.S. in 2022. Though these horrific incidents often receive widespread media coverage, when it comes to gun crimes in America, they are only the tip of the iceberg.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives traced a total of over 456,000 firearms likely linked to a crime in the United States in 2021, the most recent year of available data. Each of these traced firearms is assigned one of 59 categories that describe the circumstances in which it was recovered by law enforcement.

The ATF traced a total of 4,605 firearms in Minnesota in 2021. Excluding potential crimes which, by definition, always involve a firearm such as illegal weapon possession, the most common category of circumstances to which traced firearms were linked in the state were drug-related. This classification accounted for 8.6% of all firearms traced by the ATF in the state in 2021.

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The two other most common categories for traced firearms in Minnesota in 2021 were related to aggravated assault and family offenses, which accounted for 5.8% and 3.4% of all traced firearms, respectively.

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The Center Square (click to enlarge)

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