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Looks Like After An Unconstitutional Bump Stock Ban, The ATF Might Be Pushing For A National Gun Registry

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Published on: February 18, 2020

Well, the Trump administration’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE or ATF for short) altered the definition of machine guns and declared an illegal ex post facto ban on bump stocks, I guess they have been all the more encouraged to advance a gun confiscation agenda.  For those of us who have been warning that the attacks on the rights you have to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment didn’t go away, as promised by the current president, it’s even more evidence that the American people are being deceived by what is actually going on in our government, as the ATF has now proposed steps to create a national gun registry.

The story comes by way of Guns in the News:

The ATF has issued new rules that will alter the format for Form 4473’s and make it easier to create a national gun registry.

Here’s what we know. ATF agents have used annual inspections to electronically record the contents of Form 4473’s being kept by federal gun dealers.

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We also know that a software company exhibiting its wares at the Shot Show in Las Vegas has crafted a system where ATF can take the contents of all the dealer’s Bound Book entries by simply capturing them on a thumb drive.

The movie, Red Dawn, shows how the 4473 form can be used as a backdoor gun registry. In the movie, a Cuban commander orders an officer to obtain the 4473s from the sporting goods store, so the invading forces know who owns firearms.

(The Bound Book entries contain all of the buyer’s personal information and gun information which is on a Form 4473.)

We know that billionaire “Midget Mike” Bloomberg has made Universal Background Checks/National Gun Registries the centerpiece of his $2 BILLION campaign for the presidency — presumably because, if everyone with a gun has a 4473, then everyone with a gun will be in the national gun registry being compiled by ATF, using its copies of 4473’s.

And we know that the ATF is now trying to put the names of gun owners on the same page of the 4473 as the identifying information of the gun. 

Gun Owners of America provided the evidence.

1. ATF illegally copying 4473 forms

* ATF using digital scanners.  “ATF has been copying FFL Bound Books for years — with or without FFL permission. During annual compliance inspections in other states, FFL dealers have reported that ATF industry operations investigators (IOI) brought in digital cameras and photographed the entire dealer ‘Bound Book’ without permission of the FFL holder. Other dealers reported investigators brought in digital scanners and scanned portions of the Bound Book — line by line. Of course, the Bound Book contains the dealer’s full record of lawful firearm sales transaction records.”

* GOA legal counsel, Michael Hammond:  “Several gun dealers have contacted me and asked for my advice. Invariably, they say that the ATF is, or has been, at their store — making wholesale copies of their 4473 forms — and they want to know if that’s legal. I’m not going to betray their confidence without permission, but I can tell you that this has occurred enough times to make me believe these are not isolated incidents. And this has happened despite the prohibition in 18 USC 923(g)(1)(D) which specifically prohibits anyone in the Justice Department from ‘seiz[ing] any records or other documents other than those records or documents constituting material evidence of a violation of law.’”

*FFL’s complain of illegal ATF activity.  “The [ATF] is engaged in new illegal activity, this time in the state of Alaska.  According to gun store owners in Anchorage, ATF agents are requiring that they submit what is called ‘4473 Forms’ going as far back as 2007….  The ATF has the authority to inspect or request a copy of the form if agents are conducting a criminal investigation. But nowhere does the law or the rules and regulations of the ATF permit the agency to require gun stores to simply turn over these records en mass as a matter of course.  The gun stores in Anchorage are not being told that their records are being requested as part of a criminal investigation of any kind. The ATF has not specified certain forms from specific time frames as one would expect during such an investigation. The agency is telling the stores that it wants all of these records, in totality, going back to 2007.”

2.  Elected officials have used registration lists to confiscate firearms

* From registration to confiscation in New York.  In the mid-1960’s officials in New York City began registering long guns.  They promised they would never use such lists to take away firearms from honest citizens.  But in 1991, the city banned (and soon began confiscating) many of those very guns.   In 1992, a New York City paper reported that, “Police raided the home of a Staten Island man who refused to comply with the city’s tough ban on assault weapons, and seized an arsenal of firearms…. Spot checks are planned [for other homes].”

* Confiscation in New Orleans.  “No one is allowed to be armed. We’re going to take all the guns,” said P. Edwin Compass III, the superintendent of the New Orleans police, right before several law-enforcement agencies began confiscating the firearms of lawful gun owners in the wake of Hurricane Katrina (2005).

3. Background checks can (and do) lead to gun registration

* Justice Department report (1989).  “Any system that requires a criminal history record check prior to purchase of a firearm creates the potential for the automated tracking of individuals who seek to purchase firearms.”

* Justice Department initiates registration (1994).  The Justice Department gave a grant to the city of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University to create a sophisticated national gun registry using data compiled from states’ background check programs.  This attempt at registration was subsequently defeated in the courts.

* More gun owner registration (1996).  Computer software distributed by the Justice Department allowed police officials to easily (and unlawfully) register the names and addresses of gun buyers.  This software—known as FIST—also kept information such as the type of gun purchased, the make, model and caliber, the date of purchase, etc.   This demonstrates how easily background checks can be used to register gun owners’ information.

* Federal Bureau of Investigation registers gun owners (1998).  Despite prohibitions in federal law, the FBI announced that it would begin keeping gun buyer’s names for six months.  FBI had originally wanted to keep the names for 18 months, but reduced the time period after groups like Gun Owners of America strongly challenged the legality of their actions.  GOA submitted a formal protest to the FBI, calling their attempt at registration both “unlawful” and “unconstitutional.”

Also, GOA provides a list of testimonials about illegal copying of ATF forms here.

GOA also asks whether or not the ATF is actually compiling such a list with the help of your local gun dealer.

They point out what was shown at SHOT Show this year.

While attending the SHOT Show, I learned about a software package that makes dealer record keeping easier.

The software allows dealers to keep an electronic bound book. It is an online package and the dealer pays a monthly fee based upon the number of transactions. When the software is being used, the screen resembles a bound book. The software has spell check and prevents misspelling of names such as Glock (Gloc) or SCCY (SKKY). And because all of the information is typed on a screen, it makes it easy for those who have poor quality handwriting to keep legible records that can then be made into a PDF which, when printed, looks like a traditional printed “bound book.”

Software, making daily tasks easier… what could possibly go wrong?

Plenty!

When speaking with the software vendors, I specifically asked how does ATF conduct compliance inspections of dealers who are using this software package. I was given a demonstration and shown how the software exports the data (guns and gun buyers names and addresses) into either a PDF that resembles an old-fashioned bound book or a Comma Separated Values (CSV) file that can be opened in Microsoft Excel.

I was told that this “feature” makes a compliance check easy because the dealer simply exports the CSV file to a thumb drive and the ATF leaves with the data. I was told that ATF analyzes the data away from the FFL’s premises. If there are any discrepancies or problems the gun dealer is notified and usually given an opportunity to correct the errors.

When dealing with compliance with government rules, many people do what is easy. That’s why so many file their US form 1040 tax return electronically, even though experts claim that increases the likelihood of an audit. I wasn’t surprised when the software vendor told me how well-received their application has been. Especially since it makes things easy, and ATF is not on dealer’s premises for more than a few minutes.

I accept that it is bad for business to have ATF personnel hanging around. This scheme is a danger, and allows ATF to easily create a gun registry — in violation of 18 USC 926 (a)(3). We have no way to know if a registry is actually being created and if the ATF is or is not destroying these records at the conclusion of the compliance check. One might argue they’re not, because GOA has received reports of ATF demanding copies of entire (paper) bound books. That is bad, but at least with paper, the data still needs to be converted to an electronic format to be of any real use. However, a CSV file that can be searched in MS Excel is of significant value to a government that wishes to track gun owners.

How do you feel about your personal information — linked to guns you own, by make, model and serial number — being put into the ATF’s hands? If you’re like me, you don’t like it, and you know that registration can and has led to confiscation. Not only in far away foreign lands but in US states like New York.

In the years, I’ve been reporting, I’ve come across stories where the ATF has gone into gun stores and photocopied those forms and taken them without a warrant.

Additionally, it appears the FBI is also keeping their records when background checks are conducted regarding new gun purchases.

All of this is unconstitutional and even in violation of federal law.

The question now is, can you really trust your gun dealer or should you stick to personal one on one sales?

I’m all of the personal sales.  It’s none of the government’s business what you own.

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