WASHINGTON, D.C. -(Ammoland.com)- Gun Owners of America (GOA) has released documents proving that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) keeps an illegal gun registry.
AmmoLand News has reported that the ATF has been scanning nearly one billion “Out of Business” records using optical character recognition (OCR) software. If you did not know already, out-of-business FFL’s 4473 documents from gun sales made over the duration of that business have been turned over to the ATF. These “out of business” documents include personal information, including social security numbers, addresses, height, weight, eye color, etc. The ATF claims that this database is not searchable by name. This claim is true on the surface because the ATF has disabled the field within the software, but that field can be easily re-enabled at any time with just a few clicks of a mouse.
The database is currently searchable by all other fields except gun owners’ names. GOA and some members of Congress claim that this constitutes an illegal gun registry. Representative Michael Cloud has introduced the No Retaining Every Gun in a System That Restricts Your (REGISTRY) Rights Act in the House of Representatives. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has introduced a REGISTRY companion bill into the Senate.
“We cannot allow Joe Biden and the radical leftists in his administration to establish a permanent gun registry they can use to target Americans they see as their opponents for exercising their Second Amendment rights,” Cruz said in a statement released to the media.
“That’s why I’m proud to introduce the No REGISTRY Rights Act to require the ATF to delete all of their existing transaction records before they can be used against law-abiding Americans,” Cruz continued.
If the bill were to pass, it would require the ATF to destroy all out-of-business records in its possession. Federal firearms license (FFL) holders would no longer send their documents, such as the ATF Form 4473, to the Bureau’s out-of-business office in Martinsburg, WV. The FFL would destroy any record, thus preventing the ATF from scanning the documents into the database.
The ATF has taken other steps to expand the out-of-business registry.
The government agency has strongly encouraged FFLs still in business to turn over records to the ATF. In the past, FFLs only had to keep records for 20 years, but the ATF recently changed the rule requiring FFLs to keep records indefinitely.
The ATF has also stopped issuing variances that allow FFLs to keep records off-site. That change could mean that 1000s of records must be kept onsite even if there is no room to store the forms. The only other choices that the FFLs have is to store the documents digitally or turn them over to the Bureau for scanning into the database. Gun rights activists see this change as a concerted effort of the ATF to acquire all documents to expand the registry.
The Biden administration has pushed for an extensive firearms registry. The administration feels that a searchable database will help it take on the gun industry. Gun rights activists worry that a gun registry will lead to gun confiscation.
The ATF would not comment on REGISTRY. Even if REGISTRY were to pass, the President would veto the bill. There are not enough votes in Congress to overturn a veto, but if Biden loses his reelection bid, it could change the chances of the bill passing.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.