INTERPOL Illicit Arms Records and tracing Management System (iARMS)

About iARMS

The INTERPOL Illicit Arms Records and tracing Management System (iARMS) is a state-of-the art tool that facilitates information exchange and investigative cooperation between law enforcement agencies in relation to the international movement of illicit firearms, as well as licit firearms that have been involved in the commission of a crime.

Police worldwide can record firearms in the iARMS system and search seized weapons to check if they have been reported as lost, stolen, trafficked or smuggled. This can help identify potential links between crimes in different parts of the world, as well as possible firearms trafficking or smuggling routes.

iARMS is an integral part of the international strategy and operational framework to combat the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.

Terrorist attacks – iARMS tracing

Analysis of iARMS data and statistics has already significantly informed detailed assessments of the illicit flows of weapons to terrorist organizations, organized criminal groups and other unauthorized users.

Indeed, tracing every recovered crime gun through iARMS helps create intelligence leads to establish a direct link to the providers of terrorist firearms. This information supports the development of targeted operations to combat the flow of weapons into the hands of criminals and terrorists.

What is firearm tracing?

Firearm tracing is the systematic tracking of a firearm found or seized, from the point of manufacture or the point of legal importation into a country, through the lines of supply to the last known point of possession.

Firearm tracing involves close cooperation among law enforcement, customs and border control agencies internationally.

The 2005 International Tracing Instrument identifies INTERPOL as a key partner in the implementation of firearm tracing activities.

The tracing of illicit firearms is crucial component of the international strategy and framework to combat the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects.

Firearm tracing can:

  • Link a suspect to a firearm in a criminal investigation;
  • Identify potential firearm traffickers;
  • Detect firearm crime trends;
  • Support targeted intelligence-led police operations aimed at curbing the firearms supply to terrorist networks and violent individuals.


This project is funded by the European Union

Contact us

For more information regarding the INTERPOL Ballistic Information Network or other aspects of the INTERPOL Firearms Programme, contact us.

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