The U.S. federal government has amassed records comprising over 920 million gun sales from the records of firearms dealers who went out of business, amid concerns alleging the Biden administration is seeking to create a federal gun registry, which would be unlawful.
In a letter (pdf), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) told Rep. Michael Cloud (R-Texas) that as of November 2021, it was holding a database of 920,664,765 firearm purchase records. The letter was obtained and first reported by the Washington Free Beacon.
“This includes digital and an estimated number of hard copy records that are awaiting image conversion. It is currently estimated that 865,787,086 of those records are in digitalized format,” Daniel Board, the ATF’s assistant director of public and governmental affairs, told the congressman.
The latest report reveals the ATF is overseeing a number of gun owners records far higher than previously disclosed—the Washington Free Beacon previously reported in November 2021 that in fiscal year 2021, the ATF processed 54.7 million firearms purchase records—53.8 million in paper copies, and 887,000 more in electronic format.
The database, called the Out of Business Records Imaging System, was developed by the ATF in 2006 “due to practical concerns related to maintaining paper and microfilm records,” the letter said.
Federal law requires the ATF to obtain all records from maintained by a licensed firearms dealer when the business goes under. The physical records are being stored at a federal site in West Virginia. The ATF is also digitizing the records into a searchable computer database.
As per federal law, Americans who buy a gun at a licensed firearms dealer must fill out a Firearms Transaction Record (ATF Form 4473), and the gun store must maintain the records for at least 20 years.
Concern Over Potentially Creating an Illegal Registry
Cloud and 51 other House representatives had issued a letter (pdf) to the ATF on Nov. 22, 2021, expressing concern about the database that is being digitized, as well as over how the Biden administration has been seeking to create a rule that would, instead of allowing the gun purchase records to be purged after 20 years, require all licensed firearms dealers to preserve the records “until the business or licensed activity is discontinued.”
By requiring the gun store owners to hold all records for the duration of their business activities, it means “100 [percent] of all lawful commercial firearm transfers would eventually end up in an ATF computer system, thereby creating a permanent database,” the lawmakers said in their letter, adding that the proposed regulation would essentially require licensed firearms dealers to “facilitate the creation of a federal gun registry.”
“Indeed, current regulations require [federal firearms licensees (FFLs)] to send firearm transaction records to the ATF when an FFL goes out of business,” the lawmakers noted. “However, Congress has also made it clear in the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act that the federal government shall not create a federal gun registry and has prohibited ATF from creating any centralized databases with its funding.”
Amy Hunter, a spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association, told The Epoch Times via email the NRA is “deeply concerned” that the out-of-business records “could be used to form a database of law-abiding gun owners,” adding that the NRA is “taking steps to rectify this matter.”
Cloud issued a statement on social media reiterating his views on the matter late Monday.
“A federal firearm registry is explicitly banned by law,” he wrote. “The Biden Administration continues to empower criminals while diminishing the rights of law-abiding Americans. The ATF is shamelessly circumventing existing law to accumulate these records. They must be held accountable.”
ATF: Database Used to Trace Guns in Crimes
Lawmakers asked the ATF: “18 U.S. Code § 926 prohibits any system of registration of firearms, firearms owners, or firearms transactions or dispositions [from] be[ing] established.’ Explain in detail how the Out-of-Business Records Center policy combined with proposed rule change in ATF2021R-05 does not violate the statutory restriction on a federal gun or gun owner registry.”
The agency responded without further explanation, “With regard to the proposed rule (ATF-2021R-05) on which you commented, ATF is confident that it does not violate any laws.”
The ATF also said that its out-of-business database does not “capture and store certain key information, such as firearms purchaser information, in an automated file.”
“The sole purpose of these systems is to trace firearms used in crimes, which is a valuable crime gun intelligence tool used in thousands of investigations by ATF and our local, State, and Federal law enforcement partners,” the bureau said, adding that the U.S. Government Accountability Office in 2016 had noted in its report: “ATF collects and maintains firearms transaction information in each system incident to the implementation of specific statutory authority and it does not exceed those statutory purposes.”
“The vast majority of the criminal firearms traces completed by the ATF National Tracing Center (NTC) are done for State and local law enforcement agencies across the country pursuant to active law enforcement investigations. The NTC only traces crime guns, and every trace must be
identified as such by the requestor by selecting an appropriate crime code when submitting the trace request.”
Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.
242436 368425Often the Are typically Weight reduction plan is unquestionably an low-priced and flexible weight-reduction strategy product modeled on individuals seeking out shed some pounds combined with at some point sustain a far healthier your life. la weight loss 778129
885992 922400Several thanks I ought say, impressed along with your web site. I will post this to my facebook wall. 640009
78592 256279Its essential to have having access towards the information posted here 563161
940497 938887Some times its a discomfort within the ass to read what people wrote but this website is real user genial ! . 612195
804927 694981Hey, you used to write great, but the last couple of posts have been kinda boringK I miss your wonderful writings. Past couple of posts are just a bit out of track! come on! 779288
7146 478842These kinds of Search marketing boxes normally realistic, healthy and balanced as a result receive just about every customer service necessary for some product. Link Building Services 26168
577154 338750Currently truly do not stop eating because there is however the decision that you will transform into. Function from your home us rrs often a fad for that who wants to earn money but nonetheless enough time requires most substantial occasions employing children and kids goes for as the modern habit. attract abundance 37543
551237 681937I like this internet site very much so a lot superb info . 927566
766513 298499I like the way you conduct your posts. Have a nice Thursday! 578355
120219 18391Slide small cooking pot within the cable to make it easier for you to link the other big wooden bead for the conclude with the cord. 304627
853855 840983Immigration […]the time to read or visit the content material or internet sites we have linked to below the[…] 121140
458410 125130I like this internet website its a master peace ! Glad I detected this on google . 738400
993363 711809Sorry for the huge review, but Im actually loving the new Zune, and hope this, as nicely as the exceptional reviews some other people have written, will aid you decide if it is the best choice for you. 376176
850007 54642Youd outstanding guidelines there. I did a search about the field and identified that quite likely the majority will agree along with your web page. 340056
348870 247925Excellent weblog here! following reading, i decide to buy a sleeping bag ASAP 554255
106522 811782You completed several very good points there. I did specific searches on the concern and located numerous folks go in conjunction with along with your weblog. 532271
966566 653692I like this weblog very considerably, Its a rattling nice billet to read and uncover info . 377050
38551 858796I respect your piece of work, appreciate it for all of the interesting content . 515173
528906 651314Attractive portion of content. I basically stumbled upon your weblog and in accession capital to assert that I get in fact loved account your weblog posts. Anyway I will likely be subscribing to your augment and even I success you get admission to constantly rapidly. 534909
19920 858059You produced some decent points there. I looked online towards the problem and discovered most people is going in addition to making use of your web site. 445658
685001 166258I believe this website has got some very exceptional information for everybody : D. 381586
661437 189415I take great pleasure in reading articles with quality content material. This post is one such writing that I can appreciate. Keep up the excellent work. 624380