ATF Proposes Illegal “Emergency” National Gun Registry

The Obama administration recently selected Andrew Traver to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (and Really Big Fires). When Barack’s mob made the announcement, a Chicago news report surfaced wherein Agent Traver called for a ban on assault weapons. Bloggers also exposed his connections to two prominent anti-gun rights groups. At the time, several commentators predicted that the appointment signaled a new strategy for the Administration: they would pursue gun control through ATF fiat, rather than legislative initiative. Roger that . . .

Click here for a link to the ATF’s proposed “emergency” measure to collect a national registry of data on any sale of “two or more [semi-automatic, detachable magazine, larger than .22-caliber] rifles within any five consecutive business days.” Alternatively, here’s the doc.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
[OMB Number 1140–NEW]
Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comments Requested
ACTION: 60-Day Emergency Notice of Information Collection Under Review: Report of Multiple Sale or Other Disposition of Certain Rifles.

The Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, will submit the following information collection request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and clearance in accordance with emergency review procedures of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. OMB approval has been requested by January 5, 2011. This notice requests comments from the public and affected agencies concerning the proposed information collection. If granted, the emergency approval is only valid for 180 days. Comments should be directed to OMB, Office of Information and Regulation Affairs, Attention: Department of Justice Desk Officer (202) 395–6466, Washington, DC 20503.

During the first 60 days of this same review period, a regular review of this information collection is also being undertaken. All comments and suggestions, or questions regarding additional information, to include obtaining a copy of the proposed information collection instrument with instructions, should be directed to Barbara A. Terrell, Barbara.Terrell@atf.gov Firearms Industry Programs Branch, Fax (202) 648–9640, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, 99 New York Avenue, NE., Washington DC 20226.

Written comments and suggestions from the public and affected agencies concerning the proposed collection of information. Your comments should address one or more of the following four points:

—Evaluate whether the proposed
collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;

—Evaluate the accuracy of the agencies estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

—Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

—Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

Summary of Collection:
(1) Type of information collection: New.
(2) The title of the form/collection: Report of Multiple Sale or Other Disposition of Certain Rifles.
(3) The agency form number, if any, and the applicable component of the department sponsoring the collection: Form Number: ATF F 3310.12. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
(4) Affected public who will be asked or required to respond, as well as a brief abstract: Primary: Business or For-Profit Other: None.
Need for Collection

The purpose of the information is to require Federal Firearms Licensees to report multiple sales or other dispositions whenever the licensee sells or otherwise disposes of two or more rifles within any five consecutive business days with the following characteristics: (a) Semi automatic; (b) a caliber greater than .22; and (c) the ability to accept a detachable magazine.
(5) An estimate of the total number of respondents and the amount of time estimated for an average respondent to respond/reply: It is estimated that 8,479 respondents will complete a 12 minute form.
(6) An estimate of the total public burden (in hours) associaed [sic] with the collection: The estimated total public burden associated with this information collection is 1,696 hours.

If additional information is required contact: Lynn Murray, Department Clearance Officer, Policy and Planning Staff, Justice Management Division, United States Department of Justice, 145 N Street, NE., Two Constitution Square, Room 2E–502, Washington, DC 20530.
Dated: December 14, 2010.

Lynn Murray,
Department Clearance Officer, PRA, United States Department of Justice. [FR Doc. 2010–31761 Filed 12–16–10; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4410–FY–P

Note: as I’ve stated numerous times, United States law prohibits a national gun registry. Specifically, Section 18 U.S.C. 926(a) of the Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986. Under the provisions of that law, the proposed “emergency” measure is illegal. In fact, where did they get this presumed power in the first place? The National Shooting Sports Foundation wonders the same thing:

Multiple sales reporting for long guns is an ill-considered mandate and one that ATF does not have the legal authority to unilaterally impose. In fact, ATF has not specified under what legal authority it presumes to act. The decision as to whether ATF can move forward with this agenda-driven mandate will be left to Cass Sunstein who heads the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA).  This is the same Cass Sunstein who in a 2007 speech at Harvard University said, “We ought to ban hunting, if there isn’t a purpose other than sport and fun. That should be against the law. It’s time now.”

The proposal also contravenes the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure. You could argue that the provisions are not unreasonable given the context of the “emergency” situation (like drunk driving road blocks). As the Brits—who’ve lost the right to bear arms—are wont to say, “If you haven’t done anything wrong, you have nothing to fear.”

But then you’d have to defend the position that it’s OK for a federal agency to consider a multiple rifle buyer guilty until proven innocent. Anyway, as the NRA has argued, any such registration is also unlikely to succeed at curbing crime.

The slippery slope objection is well worth consideration. Although this is a six-month deal, it’s a whole lot easier to get an extension to an emergency power than it is to enact any change in gun laws. What’s to stop the ATF from widening the order’s parameters? They could argue that handguns are now a problem with drug cartels. Or bolt-action sniper rifles. Or any rifle in 50-caliber sold anywhere to anyone.

Also, what exactly will the ATF do with the information? Will they investigate all “8,479 respondents” they estimate will fall into the new category? Will American who buy more than two rifles (as described) be added to the FBI’s Terrorist Watch List? What if the Congress decides to close the “loophole” that allows people on that list—riddled as it is with errors—to buy firearms?

How long will the ATF keep the data? Their record in this regard is perfectly clear: forever. Despite the aforementioned law specifically prohibiting the establishment of a federal gun registry, the ATF holds onto gun dealer data like granite holds onto quartz. Wikipedia makes that point perfectly clear:

The ATF Firearms Tracing System (FTS) contains firearm tracing information from millions of traces performed since 1989, and consists of several databases [including] over 460,000 (2003) Multiple Sales reports (ATF F 3310.4 – a registration record with specific firearms and owner name and address – increasing by about 140,000 per year). Reported as 4.2 million records in 2010.

Data is manually collected from paper Out-of-Business records (or input from computer records) and entered into the trace system by ATF. These are registration records which include name and address, make, model, serial and caliber of the firearm(s), as well as data from the 4473 form – in digital or image format. In March, 2010, ATF reported receiving several hundred million records since 1968.

So why would the ATF ditch this new info? Equally worrying, will they share it with other law enforcement agencies and foreign countries that use the ATF’s eTrace system? What guarantee do American citizens have that these foreign governments won’t make a copy of the data?

As you’d imagine the NRA is furious at this proposal. The gun rights group made no secret of that fact to the Washington Post, whose Secret Life of Guns series intimated this move in yesterday’s installment:

“This administration does not have the guts to build a wall, but they do have the audacity to blame and register gun owners for Mexico’s problems,” Cox said. “NRA supports legitimate efforts to stop criminal activity, but we will not stand idle while our Second Amendment is sacrificed for politics.”

One of those pushing the administration to act was New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s office and his policy adviser, John Feinblatt, who first proposed such a requirement early in the administration. “Sixteen months ago, we called for it,” Feinblatt said. “It’s time to do it.”

I was under the impression that the last election cycle proved that Americans want their government to do less, and spend less not doing it. Obviously, the Obama administration didn’t get that memo. And that’s without even beginning to talk about the REAL source of Mexican drug gangs’ guns. Which TTAG will be doing presently . . .

comments

  1. avatar Ralph says:

    I’m sure that ATF will also want paperwork if a subject of the realm purchases two or more books with the following characteristics: (a) advocates limiting government; (b) calling for the dissolution of ATF; and (c) telling the Joyce Foundation to pound sand.

  2. avatar Dan Baum says:

    Excellent, correct use of the word “presently.” Congratulations on avoiding a common and annoying mistake.

  3. avatar Robert Farago says:

    Dan, You mean, other than that, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?

  4. avatar Dan Baum says:

    Here’s my issue: The ATF says this will help them bust unscrupulous gun buyers who are sending guns illegally to Mexico, and perhaps to urban thugs. I see nothing here about creating a national registry. You may think that’s what they’re going to do, but I imagine that if they got permission to require this reporting, they’d also be ordered not to keep that information beyond the period that they’re investigating the reports. This Congress is pretty clear about that. The next one will be more so.
    I take the wholly unAmerican, tyranny-loving view that gun crime is serious and that reasonable efforts to reduce it are valid. Someone buying more than one rifle at a time raises a question in my mind. It may just be a guy buying new hunting rifles for himself and his wife, or for his two daughters. If so, he won’t have a problem. But it may be someone up to no good. In the latter case, I’d like the cops — yes, the ATF — to know about it. I’d want them to have to destroy the records of the sale once their investigation is over, because I don’t like the idea of a national gun registry any more than you do. But I don’t see a problem with the ATF looking into someone buying more than one rifle at a time. I prefer that to forbidding the purchase of more than one rifle at a time.
    For Christ’s sake: The fact that we enjoy firearms doesn’t mean we don’t care about gun crime. And we shouldn’t act as though we don’t. This ATF is certainly worth monitoring. But it’s not worth going to the barricades over — yet. It may be pernicious. It may not be. I, for one, would want more evidence from ATF that this really might do some good. Otherwise, it’s just more bureaucratic hassle for all concerned. And I’d want safeguards to prevent a back-door gun registry. But pursuing bad guys? Why would any of us want to stand in the way of that?

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      Dan, Refresh the post. I’ve added some information.

      The Congress may be clear about the destruction of info gathered during FBI background checks, but the huge database that the ATF currently maintains is, already, a national gun registry. In this specific case, the agency has said NOTHING about destroying the records. Why would they unless they were required to do so? We must assume that they won’t.

      Your argument seems to be extension of the British rationale described in my article: if you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear, and you want to help the police don’t you? The fact that the UK is now the most surveilled nation in the world without any right to armed self-defense pretty much tells you all you need to know about how that idea plays out in real life.

      Pursuing bad guys is a good thing. But there are limits to the power that we give the police to achieve that end, because unbridled police power is worse than anything the bad guys could ever do to us.

  5. avatar Ike says:

    My two cents worth….

    We are all in favor of stopping the bad guys. But reporting the sales of a couple of Model 1907 Winchester semi-auto rifles, or Model 8 Remington rifles, or WWII M1 Carbines, or Thompson .45 semi-autos isn’t going to help out the problem – if there is a real problem. ATF’s proposed registration reporting doesn’t address the real problem. And, once the camel’s nose is under the tent, they certainly will want to know where every .50 rifle goes – and a lot more. And just to stir the pot, an AR15 lower doesn’t have a caliber, so those wouldn’t have to be reported!

    ATF will never destroy the records. After all, the average age of traced Mexican guns is 14 years!

    Regardless, this new report can only be a band-aid. So they catch a couple of straw purchasers who needed a few bucks. You mean the cartels won’t find a few more? And can’t figure out that each purchase has to be at least a week apart or a different shop to avoid the reporting to ATF?

  6. avatar Chris Dumm says:

    The ATF’s proposed ’emergency’ rule sends a clear message: only buy FOUR guns from one dealer each week. Or buy thirty Glocks from the same dealer, because they’re not rifles. Either way, you’re good.

    1. avatar Ike says:

      Chris….

      The reporting requirement is TWO rifles within 5 days.

      So, those two mint original Winchester WWII Carbines your dealer just got in – you better space out the purchase…..

      1. avatar Ike says:

        Chris:

        I forgot to mention – there already is a requirement to report you to the ATF if you buy thirty Glocks……

  7. avatar JOE MATAFOME says:

    These lowlife commies won’t be happy until they take all our guns.

    1. avatar lauren says:

      Oh geez…
      You guys really need to stop it with the ‘commie’ stuff…
      Obama is not even close…

  8. avatar steve says:

    I have told family & friends all along, POTUS is (was) just waiting for a way to tear apart the RKBA….all he needed was an excuse to sign some executive order or try to pass a law. Of course, with a new Repub-majority HofRep starting soon, that probably wont happen. Nothing that happens within Homeland Security / DoJ / FBI / ATF /DEA concerning guns, drugs, terrorism, etc will go without at least some input from the White House. They will try to push the “anti-RKBA” agenda as much as they can.
    Sorry, I just don’t trust the feds enough to do this correctly.

  9. avatar Ralph says:

    Dan Baum says: “Someone buying more than one rifle at a time raises a question in my mind.”
    I’m buying two rifles this week at the same time. I’ve been backgound-checked and fingerprinted to a fare-thee-well and have thirty years as a member of the Bar. What’s questionable about my purchase? Do you really believe that the drug cartels are buying rifles two at a time from a dealer in Massachusetts? Come on!
    steve says: “Sorry, I just don’t trust the feds enough to do this correctly.”
    Well, I don’t trust them at all, especially ATF. Should I accept their good intentions on faith? No way, Dan, and neither should you or anyone else regardless of what you think about the policy. Nor do I put much credence in the word of politicians, no matter what they say.

  10. avatar Don Curton says:

    I bought two bottles of liquor the other day. Whiskey and Rum. Didn’t have to fill out no stinking form. Bought some cigs while I was there. No questions asked. Where was the ATF in all of this? I tell you, I’m living on the edge!

    Oh yeah, I passed one of the bottles on to someone else. A straw purchase. Take that, ATF!!!!

  11. avatar Bernard P. Farquhar, Esq. says:

    Everyone knows this plot has been in the offing since Bloomberg the anabolic dwarf and his hacks mentioned it 16-18 months ago. All of a sudden now it’s an emergency. I live on the border and reside in Mexico part of the year. Cartelistas don’t carry Remingtons, they don’t carry anything bolt action, and they don’t carry semi autos, They predominantly carry full auto weapons, usually AK or M-16 style, standard issue FN/FAL .308’s pinched from the Mexican army, grenades, RPG’s, much of which comes into Mexico via Guatamala, Honduras, Belize, and by boat. This isn’t the kind of stuff you can pick up at your neighborhood gun shop. This “emergency” ploy is an attempt by Balack Obama to use the ATF, by fiat, to regulate arms ownership and registration in the USA totally circunventing the legislative process. And for those who think this isn’t worth going to the barricades for, since when has ANY branch or agency of government given ANYTHING back once they took it from us. Get your heads out of the sand!! This action is just another attempt to subjugate We the People by an administration afraid to stand up for us because WE ARE DIFFERENT THAN ANY OTHER COUNTRY IN THE WORLD . And if that’s why our enemies wish to attack us, then so be it. That’s why we have the Navy, Marines, Air Force, Army, and Coast Guard. Call and write your elected officals. Do not sit idly by and allow thius to happen. Resistance is not futtile!!!!

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