ATF Creates Secret And Illegal Gun Registry

The ATF has created secret and illegal gun registry.
The ATF has created secret and illegal gun registry.

The ATF aka the federal agency that brought us Fast & Furious, (which put thousands of guns into the hands of drug cartels and islamic terrorists) has been hard at work. The rogue federal agency has been implementing a secret, illegal and unconstitutional registry of gun owners. Why? Why would a federal agency do such a thing?

On Monday, the Government Accountability Office released a report which concludes that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives violated federal law by creating a database of private gun ownership.

The ATF is an agency tasked with protecting communities against crimes committed with illegal or trafficked firearms. In order for the agency to fulfill this mission, claims GAO, they do hold some gun ownership information in databases, but only for information related to criminal activity.

This illegal attempt to establish a gun database is a stain on democracy.

Those circumstances may include a gun that is suspected of being used in a crime, or private data that originated from an out-of-business gun shop (the government calls these federal firearm licensees, or FFLs). However, the law prevents the ATF from storing the private details of every firearm owner.

Instead, as the report claims, the gun store is required to hold onto the details and records of each gun used. This way, the government may only get access to the data upon request, and these requests must be associated with a criminal investigation.  This set up was established by the Gun Control Act of 1968, and as GAO writes,

The system was intended to permit law enforcement officials to trace firearms involved in crimes while allowing the records themselves to be maintained by the FFLs [gun shops] rather than by the government.

The government redoubled its protections in 1978. That year, Congress explicitly prohibited the ATF from spending any federal funds on any attempt to consolidate gun shop records. This law was renewed every year, until it was made permanent in 2012.

Yet, on occasion, GAO found that the ATF was collecting private information on firearm purchasers.

What makes these incidents so troubling is that liberals frequently advocate for these kind of databases while claiming that they will never collect private and personal data on firearm purchasers. The GAO report on the databases that ATF already has — and the violations that have taken place therein – prove that conservative fears are warranted.

GAO concludes that numerous laws were violated as ATF gathered this gun data. They write,

[w]e considered the critical characteristics of each data system and related ATF activities in light of the restriction and in the context of the ATF’s statutory authority. We conclude that ATF violated the restriction when it collected and maintained the disposition records of FFL participants [gun owners] …” and “we also agree with the ATF’s 2009 determination that the agency violated the restriction when it collected and maintained records of certain FFLs’ engaged primarily in the sale of used firearms…

In building the

The ATF has created secret and illegal gun registry.
The ATF has created secret and illegal gun registry.

gun database, the ATF violated gun ownership laws. But the ATF also violated the Antideficiency Act by spending federal dollars on activities that are not permitted by law or otherwise authorized by Congress. Such a violation of law is supposed to be reported to the president and Congress.

However, in their investigation, GAO found that, upon violating the Antideficiency Act in 2009, the ATF flat out refused to notify the president of their violation.

This latest report is merely another anecdote in the long-list of lawless maneuvers by the Obama Administration. Congress has diligently been debating the merits of a national gun owner’s data base; for conservatives, it has been a tireless fight to protect the privacy and rights of those gun owners by denying a national database.

Blatantly, and against the law, the ATF went ahead and operated a de facto national registry. This is a stain on American democracy. The debate over how to regulate the Second Amendment must not be accomplished by executive fiat, but determined by the will and rights of the people. This illegal attempt to establish a gun database is a stain on democracy.

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