By AWR HAWKINS
More than 50 Republican House members are warning the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, (ATF) may be quietly working behind the scenes to put a gun registry in place.
FOX News reports Rep. Mike Cloud (R-TX) and 50 of his colleagues sent a letter to ATF Director Marvin Richardson earlier this week, and used the letter to sound the alarm on a possible registry.
The Republicans warned that a proposed ATF rule change would put in place a requirement that Federal Firearm License holders (FFLs) preserve firearm transaction records that are beyond 20 years old. Cloud warns that no such requirement currently exists, and instituting one effectively creates a de facto registry based off gun sales.
Cloud observed: “This proposed rule would be a giant leap toward a federal firearm registry, which is explicitly banned by law…Requiring federal firearm licensees to preserve records older than 20 years will enable the Biden administration to collect more information on law-abiding gun owners, all with the purpose of eventually having a registry of every gun owner in the United States.”
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announces the launch of the Justice Department’s “five cross-jurisdictional trafficking strike forces” to staff from Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and the Department of Justice at the ATF in Washington, DC, on 22 July, 2021. (JIM LO SCALZO/POOL/AFP via Getty)
The ATF’s proposed rule change on firearm transaction records is even more worrisome when viewed in light of the Washington Free Beacon report that the ATF has “obtained more than 54 million gun owner records in 2021 alone.”
According to the Free Beacon:
The ATF in fiscal year 2021 processed 54.7 million out-of-business records, according to an internal ATF document obtained by the Gun Owners of America, a firearms advocacy group, and provided exclusively to the Free Beacon. When a licensed gun store goes out of business, its private records detailing gun transactions become ATF property and are stored at a federal site in West Virginia. This practice allows the federal government to stockpile scores of gun records and has drawn outrage from gun advocacy groups that say the government is using this information to create a national database of gun owners—which has long been prohibited under U.S. law.
The ATF obtained 53.8 million paper records and another 887,000 electronic records, according to the internal document that outlines ATF actions in fiscal year 2021. Gun activists described this figure as worryingly high and said it contributes to fears that the Biden administration is trying to keep track of all Americans who own firearms, in violation of federal statutes.
The Federalist observed, “If a national database is created, thousands of gun owners could be sought out by the administration to ‘register or destroy’ any firearms or related equipment that the Democrat administration seeks to restrict or even ban.”