HOUSTON -

HOUSTON (AP) - Federal agents tasked with slowing the flow of guns from Houston to Mexico say they're "looking for the needle in the haystack" as Texas continues a record pace for firearms purchases.
    
The Houston division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is the agency's largest. The Houston Chronicle reported Saturday that the Houston area has more than 1,600 licensed firearms dealers.
    
Agency officials told the newspaper that due to manpower limitations, the goal is to inspect dealers at least once every four years.
    
Texas has more gun dealers than any other state in the nation. The Chronicle reported that more than 1.1 million customers in Texas so far this year have requested government permission to buy firearms, which is a record pace.