Skip to comments.ATF's oversight limited in face of gun lobby
Posted on 10/26/2010 10:33:36 AM PDT by Second Amendment First
MARTINSBURG, W.VA. -- Trucks filled with boxes of gun-sales records pull up almost daily to a one-story brick building nestled in the hills outside this blue-collar town. Inside, workers armed with Scotch tape and magnifying glasses huddle over their desks, trying to decipher pieces of paper to trace the paths of guns used in crimes.
The National Tracing Center is the only place in the nation authorized to trace gun sales. Here, researchers with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives make phone calls and pore over handwritten records from across the country to track down gun owners. In contrast with such state-of-the-art, 21st-century crime-fighting techniques as DNA matching and digital fingerprint analysis, gun tracing is an antiquated, laborious process done mostly by hand. The government is prohibited from putting gun ownership records into an easily accessible format, such as a searchable computer database.
For decades, the National Rifle Association has lobbied successfully to block all attempts at such computerization, arguing against any national registry of firearm ownership.
"Those who wonder what motivates American gun owners should understand that perhaps only one word in the English language so boils their blood as 'registration,' and that word is 'confiscation,' " according to an NRA fact sheet.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
They should be forced by law to hire only people who use Cyrillic alphabets for this duty.
The government needs to have a damned reason in the first place to want to trace a gun, not pour over thousands of records fishing for evidence. I WANT THEM IMPEDED AS MUCH AS CAN POSSIBLY BE.
Since when does the BATFEXYZLMNOP obey the law?
Who needs domestic terrorist when we have the BATF???
ONOZ! Being a JBT is hawwwd wuuuuk! It's no harder than it was when they took the job; maybe they should consider honest employment where they make something and the wealth of the nation is increased by their labors.
“Those who wonder what motivates American gun owners should understand that perhaps only one word in the English language so boils their blood as ‘registration,’ and that word is ‘confiscation,’ “
They are effectively the same thing.
Registration means you need the government's Permission to defend yourself.
If there were registration, Does anyone actually think that the government would Allow you keep a gun that you try to register if they decided you weren't entitled to have one?
A Background check (for a gun you already own) would most likely be an integral part of any registration scheme, so right for the get go it would be a way of paring down gun ownership in this country.
They could call it whatever they want, but would effectively be a mandatory system of you having to obtain permission to have the right of self defense.
Probably because "registration" is usually created as a tool to more efficiently implement "confiscation."
Anybody who believes the information the government has on you will not be misused just needs to ask those natural-born American citizens of Japanese descent who were imprisoned in concentration camps during WWII without trial. They were rounded up using census records, which the government officially denied for decades.
The depth of the lefty stupidity and number of outright emotional meltdowns in the comments section are amazing.
We want the BAFT to be limited to cheap lined paper pads and number 2 pencils only for all their record keeping. Starve the beast by restricting its budget and personnel.
Then, their acronym would be accurately descriptive... '-)
If elected President, my first act would be to sign an executive order eliminating BATF and firing all of its employees. The Federal government has no Constitutional authority to regulate alcohol, tobacco or firearms. None. Turn regulation of these items back to the states, as our founders intended. And that’s just for starters.
Don't forget about the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). After 9-11, the ATF was split. The law enforcement and investigative function went as the BATFE under the Department of Justice. The TTB was created to manage the tax and regulatory function of the old BATF and is under the Treasury.
Thanks for the reminder. I’d eliminate that, too. Along with the Departments of Labor, Energy, Education and Homeland Security, too. Pure waste.
So who cares where the gun came from that was used in a crime? You caught the dude, so put him/her in prison. The only thing you should be doing is looking at reported stolen gun records in order to return the gun to it’s rightful owner (if it was stolen).
Another slight of hand goes unnoticed!
The trucks carrying boxes of records?
Let me tell you what the article did not.
“Forward Trace Request” are done by phone.
The tracing center calls the manufacturer with the guns serial number, the manufacture tells them which distributor they sent the gun to.
Trace calls the distributor, then the retailer, who tells them who purchased the gun at retail.
No trucks are required.
Of course this does not work well for guns that have changed hands privately.
In that case BATFE has to hope the original purchaser has a record of who they sold it to when they sold it, traded it, pawned it, whatever.
Then BATFE can lean on them to provide the information.
Once a gun is over a few years old the chance of successfully tracing it become near zero.
Once a gun has changed hands two or three times in private, tracing is nearly impossible.
What those trucks are delivering are the complete records of EVERY FFL who has gone out of business, for ANY reason, going back twenty years.
All FFL’s transaction records and bound books records are required to be kept for twenty years.
BATFE is skirting the law, they are attempting to build a data-base tracking all guns and their purchase, registering the last known owner!
This is in direct violation of the law as intended by congress.
This really got going under the Klinton regime.
I recall a hearing being held when it came to light, BATF (no “E” at that time) claimed that since the records are from dealers who are no longer in business, they were perfectly justified in exploiting their alleged “Loophole” and establishing a system of tracking firearms and owners.
Sadly, I do not believe that succeeding administrations ever did anything to stop this illicit activity.
So every year BATFE waste a few million dollars pretending that faded coffee stained records (Form 4473) going back twenty years are going to provide law enforcement with important information.
One solution, or at least partial fix to this, revise the record keeping law to require forms need not be kept beyond three years.
Legitimate tracing of guns would not be impaired, and the illicit data-base effort would get a lot less expensive.
This should be included in the pending BATFE Modernization Act!