Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms Explosives

Updated 9 a.m., Oct. 22 -  Overnight, officials confirmed a seventh church fire at the rectory for the Shrine of St. Joseph in the Columbus Square neighborhood, just west of downtown. The St. Louis Fire Department was able to put out the fire with a fire extinguisher. The double wooden doors to the rectory suffered some damage. No one was injured.

The fire at New Life Missionary Baptist also damaged the siding.
Peter Armstrong | Christ Church Cathedral

The St. Louis Regional Bomb Unit and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are investigating what they describe as a series of six arsons at predominately black churches in north St. Louis and north St. Louis County.

The latest, Ebenezer Lutheran Church at 1011 Theobald St., in the Baden neighborhood of St. Louis, was damaged sometime between 8:30 p.m. Saturday and 8:30 a.m Sunday. The buildings have all been empty at the times of the fires, which began when the arsonist lit exterior doors on fire.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

US Senator Dick Durbin is proposing a carrot-and-stick approach to encourage police departments in Illinois to trace guns used in crimes.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives runs the internet-based system known as eTrace, which can tell investigators who first purchased the gun and where it was manufactured.  But Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, says just half of the police departments or sheriff’s offices in Illinois use the  system.