State laws may require licensed dealers to keep records for a specified time period, but federal law prohibits the federal government from retaining firearm sales records in a central repository, making gun tracing a slow and antiquated process. Records are most useful to law enforcement when they are accessible in one location (i.e., a central database). States that maintain accurate records of gun purchases can facilitate the identification of illegal gun sellers and purchases, and therefore improve the investigation of gun crime.
Gun Violence Resource Hub
Gun Dealer Records Maintenance