Have you bought a gun this week? No? Me neither, more’s the pity. But our punctilious pals at the ATF put a new 4473 form into service as of Monday and it’s a little different from the previous model. To wit: they want to make damned sure whether or not you’re Hispanic or Latino. The old form had a checkbox labeled Hispanic or Latino just like all the other ethnic flavors they saw fit to categorize. The revised 4473 keeps the old H or L box, but adds an additional one labeled Not Hispanic or Latino. Huh? Apparently leaving the H or L box unchecked isn’t clear enough any more . . .

Now you’ll have to affirmatively assert your non-Hispanicness or anti-Lantinotude. This also means that if you don’t happen to be an H or an L, you’ll now have to check two boxes: no, you’re not H or L and yes to whatever else describes your particular ancestors best.

Maybe the ATFers see this as a way to help the New York Times more clearly identify the George Zimmermans (white Hispanics) of the world. And while they haven’t added any more negative checkboxes yet (i.e. Not Pakistani), it’s probably only a matter of time before they sprout like mushrooms in order to better slice and dice the gun-buying community. Bring your cheaters next time you pull the trigger on a new heater. The type’s gonna get pretty small.

78 Responses to ATF: Racial Profiling Is Us

  1. /sarcasm mode on

    Obviously, this is the way they will now never report the “Fast and Furious” disaster. The bad guys will now HAVE to make it clear they are, or are not, Hispanic/Latino.

    Problem solved.

    I feel safer already.

    /sarcasm mode off

  2. Nice, now it’s clear as mud. Looks to me like this is just another way to make sure that no matter how (should everybody that’s not Latino or Hispanic (say, by the way, what’s the difference?) check two boxes?) you fill out the form, it can be used as an error in completing the form and held against the FFL holder. A no win scenario.

  3. To be fair… its not really an ATF thing. If you remember, the census was worded the same way. I am betting that this is just a shift by government in general on all their forms.

  4. It is possible that this is not racial profiling because there is a difference between race and ethnicity. Hispanic and Latino are ethnicities and Black, White, Asian, Native American, etc are considered races. A person could be black Latino or black non-Latino or white Hispanic. Personally I don’t even understand or care what race is supposed to mean in the modern geopolitical world where everyone’s moved around a lot since evolving regional traits. Everyone has ancestors somewhere, people need to get over it.

    • Don, you’re exactly right. I am in the mortgage business and I saw these same things added to our paperwork in 2002 because of changes the government implemented under the revised Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. I guess they are slowly implementing these changes everywhere else. And, same as you, I really don’t care. Just another way for them to collect even more personal information that really is none of their business. It’s all about statistics.

      • I think it would make much more sense if they just had an ethnicity box which included a complete list and you noted your “skin color” the same way you note “hair color” or “eye color” on the form.

        -D

    • Why has Asian become a descriptor of race? That implies that Armenians, Afghanis, Koreans and Cambodians are all the same race.

      Didn’t it use to be just Caucasoid, Negroid, and Mongoloid?

      • Henry Bowman does raise an interesting question. Typically I would say Asian applies to people from Southeast Asia: China, Korea, Cambodia, Japan, etc. Those people that used to be referred to as Orientals. But what exactly do the “rounder-eyed but non-white” people from Asia check on their forms? As Henry said, Armenians and Afghanis, or people from the southern rim of the Mediterranean, like Morocco or Egypt? For that matter, what about Pakistanis and Indians? With the exception of Armenians, most people from the countries I listed are decidedly “not-white,” but they’re definitely not “Oriental Asian,” so what box do they check? From a strictly statistical standpoint, it seems dumb to lump people from the two most populous countries on earth (that’s China and India for you non-geopolitically aware folks) into the same category.

        I really am curious about this, as it’s not something I’ve ever thought about before.

  5. *Should* have a box identifying Hispanic “Zimmermans”.

    You know the ones: Jorge, Jurgen, Yuri, Georgio, etc.

  6. It’s like the census form, hispanic is an ethnicity and everything else is a race.

    This is designed by those uber-racist agenda setting, antigun, antizimmermans, pro-anti ttac guys at The Office of Management and Budget. /sarcasm

    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_and_ethnicity_in_the_United_States_Census

    ‘Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, as defined by the Federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the United States Census Bureau, are self-identification data items in which residents choose the race or races with which they most closely identify, and indicate whether or not they are of Hispanic or Latino origin (ethnicity).[1][2]’

    • Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, as defined by the … OMB and the United States Census Bureau, are self-identification data items in which residents choose the race or races with which they most closely identify.”

      So why doesn’t the FedGov provide a racial category of “HUMAN” ?

      • Because they don’t care if your an alien anymore (unless they think you got something they want, or feel threatened.)

  7. This is an overall change in all Federal reporting, not just ATF. The idea is that Latino is not a race, but an ethnicity. A person can be Latino/not-Latino, and then black, white, asian, etc.

    These changes have already been implemented in education statistical reporting (I’m sure, I recently modified a web-based application to meet these requirements), and medical (I think).

    You can either shrink your suspicions, or expand them, as you choose. But this has more to do with standardizing statistical reporting than anything else.

    • Same. I work with EDU’s and these changes had been going in several years ago. The ATF moves slower than most other government bureaucracies…they are used to delaying everything as much as possible.

    • Yep, the ATF is finally going from collecting racial data that isn’t even compatible with the 1977 OMB guidelines to the 1997 OMB guidelines, as all forms asking about race and Hispanic ancestry were supposed to do 15 years ago.

      But, if you really aren’t feeling cool about it, race and Hispanic ancestry are self reported (and, you can check more than one box). So, be proud of your Native Hawaiian / Native American / White race, or your Black / Asian race, either way, the person at the shop has no grounds for complaint! Check any and all of the above!

  8. My Mom is South African. Should I tick Black or African American? Or Black or African American and White?

    • Technically you are a white African American. Technically African should be considered an ethnicity too. The term “African American” is used as a misguided ethnocentric euphemism for “black”. I have a friend who is black, non-African, and non-American. She is sick of being cautiously described as African-American by people who think “black” is offensive.

      • Another reason that being PC is incorrect.

        My theory about these PC titles is its a sly way to group people and make it easier to target later if the need or opportunity for some kind of gain arises.

    • I bet you wish you thought of this before college, you might have gotten in easier and enjoyed more financial aid.

  9. Problem: I am not white. I am caucasian. White is albino.

    So I would only check the box Not Hispanic or Latino.

    And is anyone else bothered by some groups identified by color, and the others by place of origin. That is racism.

    • I’m sorry that the ATF discriminates against you in this unjust way, you should sue them for the damages you incurred due to this.

    • The Latinos / Hispanics they need to be concerned with aren’t the ones who would take the time and effort to complete the application.

  10. My wife has always struggled with checking the right “race” box on any form including Naturalization documents. She is from Trinidad and is of East Indian descent. Her skin color is milk chocolate. One person, when asked, told her to check “Black”. He won’t do that again!! She is now an American citizen, but checks “White” in the “race” box.

    • I understand how your wife feels, my daughter is Asian/American and exactly which 50% gets selected on the forms.

  11. When the census takers catch up with me I always insist on being identified as “Celtic” rather than “white” as a tribute to my hillbilly-American ancestors and so that no one will take me for a WASP or (shudder) an OFWG. Proudly fighting the Anglos since the Great Uprising of 1745! Jon Stewart has been having fun with Jorge Z. – a white Cuban with a Jewish name is a…..?????

  12. As a greencard holder I’m excited about this revision doing away with the requirement to provide additional documentation proving residence.

  13. guys i think most of you need to chill seen as the last time I checked the form 4473 is held at your FFL, so that in other words the ATF does not see these till they try to trace a gun. It is silly to make conspiracies out of a bureaucratic change to a form that gets minor changes every year to 6 months. I remember the trick question that used to be on the form that as of 6 months ago was removed. the form changes quite often and the ATF still does not get to see the forms unless they are tracing a specific firearm linked to that particular form.

  14. I like how there are potentially five different flavors of “Hispanic” on the form, but there’s one box for “Asian”, as though people from China, Uzbekistan, India, and Turkey are all pretty much the same.

    Are Japanese “Asian” or are they “Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander”?

    And what do you do if you’re Brazilian? Are they Hispanic/Latino? And if they are, what about people from Portugal?

    • And let us not forget that the “Aryans” (aka Germanic tribes), and probably the Celtic peoples as well, came out of central Asia into Eastern and Central Europe. And as a Hungarian, I know that much of my genetic heritage includes a few episodes of rape, loot, pillage and burn by Genghis Khan and his Happy Mongol Warriors! So I can legitimately claim that my “peoples” have origins in the Asian continent. Therefore, in accordance with OMB standards, my Hungarian-German-Welsh-Swiss ancestry makes me an Asian-American.

      This is why I prefer to put “human” on the census form.

      • If you believe the theories of the origin of man, we all came out of Africa, regardless of where we or our more immediate ancestors were bred and raised.

    • According to a Brazilian friend, they are 5% European, 5% African, 5% Native American, and 85% “who cares?”

    • As for Brazilians, depending on who’s counting they’re either in or out of the Hispanic group. Europeans are sometimes included in the Hispanic definition, but usually not included in the definition of Latino. I’m originally from Brazil, and I’ve usually gone with Hispanic because none of the other categories are as close a fit, but I don’t think it really describes me well.

  15. How about we just declare republican or democrat, liberal or conservative, or moderate libertarian? If where our ancestors came from and the resulting color of our skin is so important, and it’s omnipotent to liberals, then let’s move into our political affiliations since that’s where we are also drawing the line. I can understand the need to visually identify someone by height, eye and hair color and skin but their ethnic origins goes a bit far. How about categories for eastern, northern, western, and southern Europeans since I assure you these groups do not all consider themselves part of the same family.

    I think I’ll check not a Hispanic or Latino since that’s a true statement.

  16. My ancestors lived in Spain until the late 1400s and then they journeyed to far Eastern Europe. Time is relative in geologic terms. How should I respond to the form? What am I to do? Who am I; Hispanic and white or just white? Where am I; on the Internet or in Oregon or both?

      • Probably most would define me as Ashkenazi my grandparents coming to America in the very early 1900s from Russia and the Ukraine areas. Prior to that for the previous 400 years they migrated slowly from Spain eastward. An ancestor was the last chief rabbi of Toledo Spain who was burned at the stake in 1492. Prior to living in Spain pre-13oos they lived in Turkey (or some did). Before that I have no idea.

    • My father is German and my mother is Portuguese. So that makes me both “Hispanic or Latino” and simultaneously “Not Hispanic or Latino.”

      But that also depends on whether you consider Portuguese to be Hispanic. Some government entities do and some do not.

      This is just another reason why the concept of race and race accounting is absurd. It’s not really about race, it’s about culture and the attempt to balkanize our culture.

  17. Dumb question- but if you omit this information, will it get bounced as an incomplete application?
    I’ve always gone ahead and checked the appropriate box so I have no idea.

  18. If they need to identify me on sight, a color bar would make more sense. I’d just mark where along the spectrum I fall. I’ve known people in many “races” who could pass for something else. But what this illustrates is that there’s no constitutionally acceptable reason for keeping this form around in the first place.

  19. I call someone who is concerned with and makes decisions based on race a racist. We have a racist government.
    My little sister-in-law was adopted. The in-laws left her name the same so she could decide. In high school she decided to change her name to the family name. When she did she went from being Latina to White. Ridiculous!
    Martin Luther King said he hoped one day that children in America would be judged, not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. That was
    FORTY NINE YEARS AGO!
    When are we going to stop our racist government from intruding into our lives?

    • If you want to really screw up the gummint bean counters and the politicians, be sure to write “mixed race” or “human race” on every possible gummint form requesting your race. If even a third of Americans did this on the next census, the politicians would have no clue on how to gerrymander the voting districts, or which neighborhoods were guaranteed votes for them. they might even have to start telling us what they really believe, instead of what they think we want to hear. How’s that for a revolutionary proposal?

      • As would gunrunning? Does that mean you are in favor or opposed to government racism? What is your point?

        • I could point out a million “as woulds”….my statement was self explanatory (I thought), but I’ll make it plain…racism is a learned behavior. Most learned behaviors are picked up by those whom we associate closely with, whether it be friends, family, co-workers, etc…given those influences, you don’t need the government to make you racist.

        • Oh, and so you don’t retort that I didn’t answer your question, I accept that I live in a racist country(when it wants to be) with a racist (when it wants to be) government and I learn to adapt. The government is run by men and women, many of whom become racist long before they enter public office which goes back to my original point racism, like GUNRUNNING will exist independent of what the government does one way or the other.

  20. A big part of ATF’s focus is on our southern border, so I was wondering: when the ATF offers “Not Hispanic” as a qualifier, does it really mean “Not Mexican” but can’t ask that question directly for political reasons?

  21. I asked the census taker what difference it makes for race I put down. They said it was “self declared”.

    I told them I was black.

    I am not.

    • I confirmed the address, told them how many people lived here, whether we owned or rented, and (while putting it only slightly more gently) told them that they could stick the rest of the questionnaire up their ejection port.

  22. The 2010 census proliferation of racial categories exceeded my intellectual capacity but I appreciated the government’s benevolence in offering “some other race” to people like me. I wrote in “American” for the whole family.

    I am not good at recognizing a man’s race until he tells me what it is.

  23. Just to add to what the commentators said: Yeah, I believe in everybody’s right to self-define who they are and what ethnic group they consider a part of their heritage. And yeah, having it on a government seems a bit silly, especially with the vague categories they list… after all, about 100 years ago, if you identified yourself as Irish or Italian, you weren’t consider a real “white American”.

    America’s ugly history with race persists because I think people don’t have enough honest conversations about it – either we try to ignore it (wrong) or we just give meaningless lip-service to broad categories like “WE’RE ALL HUMANS!” (true, but also misguided).

    Random ethno-cultural factoid:
    The largest population of ethnic Japanese people outside of Japan and the United States is… wait for it… BRAZIL. I have friends that are simultaneously Japanese – Brazilian – American (tri-lingual Japanese/Portugese/English). And yeah, they have the same problem some of you mentioned that while they consider themselves Latino (Portugese being a Latin-derived language) they don’t consider themselves Hispanic (from Hispania / Spain / Spanish speaking).

    Didn’t the last census form have the category “multiracial”? Seems like having the category would solve a lot of problems.

    • And Idaho has the largest population of Basques outside the Basque homeland in the Spanish/French Pyrenees. They do NOT consider themselves “Hispanic” – they are Basque, and their people and language have been there for thousands of years before there was a “Spain”. They have suffered repression by the Spanish government for years, including attempts to exterminate their language and themselves. Guess what category our racially obsessed and ethnically concerned government puts the Basques in? Yup, “Hispanic”. Quite a few of my Basque friends are not amused by that.

  24. I picked up my Glock 19 Yesterday and I did have to assert that I not Hispanic.

    I am also not African American, Native American, Asian American, French, German, Scottish, Uganda, a woman, a pygmy, or a purple people eater.

    I’m sure given more time I can come up will all sorts of other things which I am not.

    I am perplexed that anyone in government has enough free time and available budget to concern themselves with this asinine question.

  25. Next time I complete a 4473 form, I will write “refused to answer” on top of sections 10A and 10B. I could easily (and truthfully) answer “white”, but I’m not going to play their silly race/ethnicity/whatever tracking game.

    Surely the bureaucrats at the ATF know that if they refuse my 4473 application based on that answer, then they have a court case that they will lose.

    Quit squabbling over silly government political correctness. Be a man and do the right thing.

  26. I started using the form this week. In Arizona, as a gun dealer, I am not sure if I can legally ask that question. If I were a local law enforcement officer I could not.

  27. Federal laws will eventually be enacted requiring the registration of all firearms and their owners. In addition to the forms, fees routine background checks and etc., and in order to resolve issues which might arise regarding racial or ethnic profiling — the prospective buyer will also be required to provide a DNA sample for testing if DNA records are not already in the .gov centralized database.
    Individuals with certain genetic characteristics will be disallowed from legal purchase or ownership of any firearm.

  28. Is it anti-Hispanic? Well, it seems it could be. The new AFT 4473 Form filled out during a legal firearm purchase now requires a buyer to check Hispanic or Latino or Not Hispanic or Latino. See Section 10.a http://www.atf.gov/firearms/industry/042012-draft-f-4473.pdf

    I guess you mark one of the races (American Indian or Alaskan Native; Asian; Black or African American; Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; White) in Section (10.b) but then you have to check Ethnicity (10.a) to confirm you don’t or do have Hispanic or Latino DNA in your system.

    Guess what my Hispanic or Latino brother and sister’s? This is the present government policy. The BATF dances to the tune to which ever President is in office. The BATF would not have gone with the recent changes without White House approval. Remember actions speak louder than words.

  29. Isn’t Mitt Romney of Latino or Hispanic descent? That means that if he were to buy a firearm he would have to check ‘White’ in Section (10.b) and check ‘Latino or Hispanic’ in Section (10.a).

    Basically Mitt Romney is a “White Latino or Hispanic” who worships God/Jesus Christ as most Latino’s or Hispanic’s do. So according to our present government administration policy the Latino or Hispanic God/Jesus Christ worshipping community is a far bigger threat than the Islamic factions.

    Our present President bows to Islamic and foreign leaders but fails to apologize for sending arms to Mexico (Fast & Furious). (Don’t bother jumping in claiming that Obama did not bow. The news videos clearly show him bowing.)

    Wake up my fellow Latino’s or Hispanic and White Latino’s or Hispanic’s this present administration considers you more of a threat to the United States than the Islamic terrorist’s that he bows to.

  30. If they never centralize and collate the data from 4473s, why ask? What difference does it make? Oh, wait…

    Re: During the most recent census, they insisted I divulge my mother’s name, address n phone, at the culmination of a “discussion” that started with whether I sleep at any other address regularly. Anybody else experience that rat hole?

    Lovely progression. “What difference does that make?” “I assure you I’m not responding twice to this census, so your count is fine.” “Do you need me to attest to this info some other, stronger way, as I’ve already told you.” “No, my mother doesn’t think I live there.” “No, I will not give you contact info to use to harass my 90+ year old mother, whom I visit occasionally.” “Why the hell do you have to ‘confirm’ that I only live here, when you took my word for everything else?” “How’s this. I will ask my mother what she reported, confirm that she did not report me as resident there, and brief you back? If there’s a problem, we can fix it, but there won’t be. She knows I don’t live there.”

    “That was the last offer. I’m not helping you harass my mother. I heard you say that you will next send someone to my door if I don’t give you what you’ve asked. This is exactly why I won’t give you my mother’s coordinates … no telling how much you’ll harass her.”

    “Let’s save some time. I won’t answer anyone who shows up at my door, either. You wanna try to beat me into setting my mother up for harassment, you can try, but that’s where we are. Whatever you are going to do, you are going to have to physically coerce me. You have all you’re gonna get from me by asking.”

    I figure I’m already on several lists, so really, no down side.

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