GOP Lawmakers Send Letter to ATF to Prevent Backdoor Gun Registry 

A look inside the ATF’s National Tracing Center. (Photo: Screenshot, The Atlantic)

Rumblings continue to emerge around the Biden Administration’s supposed intent to put together a backdoor gun registry.

While some within the 2A community have dismissed this possibility, apparently the threat is real enough that 51 GOP lawmakers put pen to paper this week to find out what’s going on over at the ATF.

In a letter addressed to ATF Acting Director Marvin G. Richardson, the lawmakers expressed their concern that Joe Biden’s DOJ is “leveraging its power in a way to establish a federal gun registry” in contravention of the 1986 Firearm Owners Protection Act that expressly forbids a centralized database of gun owners.  

They were also dismayed over a “recent proposed regulation that would require federal firearms licensees (FFLs) to facilitate the creation of a federal gun registry.”

While gun dealers/FFLs are required to hang on to gun sales records for a duration of 20 years, after which time they can destroy them, the proposed rule (ATF 2021R -05) would mandate that they keep the records in perpetuity. And should they ever go out of business, all records would then be turned over to the ATF.

SEE ALSO: Texas Gubernatorial Candidate Beto O’Rourke Plans to Repeal Constitutional Carry 

“This means that 100% of all lawful commercial firearm transfers would eventually end up in an ATF computer system, thereby creating a permanent database,” observed the House Republicans.

To gain some clarity on the situation, they asked DirectorRichardson to provide written responses to the questions below by no later than Dec. 31, 2021:

  • How many records does the ATF’s Out-of-Business Records Center (OOB) have in total?
  • How many of these records have been processed into a digitalized format?
  • How many firearm traces using these records were essential to the successful prosecution of a violent criminal in the last three years? 
  • In the case of each successful prosecution of a violent criminal, in what year was the essential firearm transfer record completed?
  • 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 ATF-2021R-05 does not violate the statutory restriction on a federal gun or gun owner registry. 

GunsAmerica will do a follow-up article on the ATF’s response, if and when it issues one. Stay tuned.

Among those who signed the letter, include Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie, New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew, Texas Reps. Ronny Jackson, Michael Cloud and Chip Roy, Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, Utah Rep. Burgess Owens, and North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn.

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About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Kary Oldman November 29, 2021, 9:29 pm

    Any scanned document in any format can be converted to searchable text. Conversion software varies in accuracy of transcription, but even cursive can be transcribed. Typed or printed text is a piece of cake. Like this post, if it can be on record, it probably is.

  • gre November 28, 2021, 9:05 am

    The weasels will play weasel word games, as they always do. A scanned document is generally not “searchable”. However, ANY file saved needs a filename. Use the firearm serial number as the filename and bob’s your uncle. Up comes the scanned file and now the eyes search it.

    And the weasels will maintain that the “documents” are not searchable.

  • Terrance Picard November 26, 2021, 9:24 am

    Hasn’t this been the case since the inception of the 4473?

    • Mig November 26, 2021, 11:01 am

      Yes.

  • Altoids November 26, 2021, 9:07 am

    Nice gesture, but the Biden administration is going to do what it wants to do, violation of the law or no.

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