Legal Gun Owners Records Amassed by ATF

The ATF already has 53.8 million legal gun owners records and 887,000 electronic records from “out of business” paperwork in their “National Tracing Center.” The Biden administration is poised to create regulations that would give them access to ALL Firearms Transaction Records so they can create a database of all gun owners. Such a database is illegal under US law, but the ATF denies that the database they keep is a “registry.”

According to a document obtained by the Gun Owners of America, the ATF processed 54.7 million out of business records in 2021.

Legal Gun Owners Records

When a licensed gun dealer goes out of business, their records are sent to the ATF in West Virginia. There the records are digitized and according to the federal agency, the resulting database cannot be searched by a gun owner’s name. The ATF has amassed so many paper records that the floor of the building collapsed several years ago, according to the NYT. (Note: the NYT site has a paywall). Gun control advocates want that to change so that the gun owners can be tracked. Gun rights groups do not. The ATF claims the records are subsequently destroyed.

The Gun Control Act of 1968 mandates that licensed firearm dealers that go out of business provide the ATF with their records. They are then processed into images, though the ATF maintains this database cannot be searched by a purchaser’s name. Physical records, the agency says, are then destroyed.

The record-keeping issue has received new scrutiny as the Biden administration readies to implement several new restrictions on firearms and owners, including a proposed ban on anywhere from 10 to 40 million pistol braces, which are used as stabilizers on popular weapons such as AR-15s. Under these guidelines, gun owners would be ordered to register or destroy these pistol braces.

The ATF’s proposed regulations would also require gun parts to be regulated with background checks, meaning that if an individual assembled a legal homemade gun, he may be forced to submit to up to 16 different background checks.

Gun advocates, including the Gun Owners of America, accuse the Biden administration of abusing the rule-making process to ensure these regulations are put into effect in record time, possibly before the end of the year.

Washington Free Beacon (Nov 6, 2021)

Gun dealers are legally allowed to destroy records after 20 years, which prevents the ATF from accessing legal gun owners information, especially old information that may or may not be out of date. Gun control advocates want to change that so the records can be kept “in perpetuity” and copies of each transaction sent to the ATF. Think about it, the amount of paperwork would increase exponentially. They would need thousands of new employees to process them. Such a scenario would create not just a snarl of paperwork, but endanger legal gun owners all across the nation.

“As if the addition of over 50 million records to an ATF gun registry wasn’t unconstitutional or illegal enough, the Biden administration’s misuse of ‘out-of-business’ records doesn’t end there. Instead of maintaining the right of licensed firearm dealers to destroy Firearm Transaction Records after 20 years, buried within Biden’s proposed regulations is a provision that would mean every single Firearm Transaction Record going forward would eventually be sent to ATF’s registry in West Virginia.”

Aidan Johnston, Gun Owners of America director of federal affairs

H/T Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children


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Faye Higbee

Faye Higbee is the columnist manager for Uncle Sam's Misguided Children. She has been writing at Conservative Firing Line since 2013 as well. She is also a published author.

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