Sample screen shot of OneStep FFL record keeping system (courtesy businesscontrol.com)

This following press release from Business Control Systems Corporation (BCSC)—of New Jersey no less—hit the inbox today. In it we learn that the Virginia gun dealer who sold spree killer Aaron Alexis a shotgun (legally) had the killer’s info stored electronically with the company’s OneStep digital gun logging system. His photo and particulars were all on the dealer’s database. While BCSC celebrates this fact, it’s more than slightly worrying for those of us who think that gun dealers’ bound book (recording all firearms sales and transfers) is de facto gun registration. Storing the info electronically makes it that much easier to search, copy and send. Not to mention hack. How do you feel about this technological advance? Before you read BCSC’s release check this out [via Virginia’s timesdispatch.com] . . .

Federal and state investigators are looking into alleged misuse of a highly confidential criminal background database used for gun purchases by a former vice president of Green Top Sporting Goods in Hanover County. . . .

Sources with knowledge of Green Top operations said [Michael J.] Lynch allegedly provided privileged information about accessing the V-Check system to a software company that advertises programming that can facilitate storing and submitting documentation that is provided to law enforcement to gain approval for a gun sale.

But the access code is highly confidential and by law cannot be disseminated to any source outside the licensed dealer to which it is assigned. Calls to the software company were not returned Wednesday.

I wonder which software company it was . . .

Iselin, NJ – October 2013) The tragic events of September 16, 2013 brought the issue of gun control front and center once again, as Americans woke to news of yet another mass shooting. Aaron Alexis, a former Navy reservist, gunned down 12 workers at the Washington Navy Yard, where he was working as a military contractor. He was then killed in the ensuing police shootout. As so often is the case in today’s instant-information driven society, news of the incident appeared almost immediately. The gunman was identified, and pieces of his past troubles and possible motives were pieced together.

Shortly thereafter, Americans saw the first glimpse of the shooter, as images of Alexis began appearing online. What is often taken for granted and sometimes unrealized is the technology used to rapidly and accurately identify owners of firearms in the U.S. In this particular case, one of the initial images that populated the internet later that day was a photo of Alexis generated from his driver’s license. The image was sourced from the Virginia-based gun dealership where he purchased the Remington 870 shotgun and ammunition used in the shooting two days earlier.

This gun dealership uses OneStep as a digital gun logging system in conjunction with a digital point-of-sale solution to ensure the legal sale of firearms is in full compliance with State and Federal regulations. Soon after the shooting occurred, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) traced the gun to the Virginia-based store through the weapon’s serial number and corresponding Form 4473 documentation. Using the digital gun log system, the store manager was able to instantly produce photo identification of the suspect, along with his complete background and buying history, and all corresponding documentation required for a legal gun transaction.

While the debate over whether or not Alexis should have been able to purchase a gun in the first place will likely continue for some time, as it turns out, he did make a legal purchase in compliance with current State and Federal regulations. And while the technology used by the Virginia-based gun dealer was unable to prevent a crime in this case, it did help support the ensuing investigation.

The system used in this instance is a multi-part integrated solution. OneStep is the system’s point-of-sale technology, inclusive of a digital gun log solution developed specifically to help gun dealers conduct legal transactions in compliance with ATF regulations. According to Marc Want, Executive Vice President of Business Control Systems Corporation (BCSC), the developers of OneStep only half of the estimated 60,000 gun dealers in the U.S. use some form of digital solution in their transactions.

Surprisingly, many gun dealers continue to use a traditional hard copy, bound-book record keeping method to track firearm purchases. Use of this method of gun logging not only creates an increased possibility of human error or incomplete data capture; it is paper-intensive, requiring the documentation and maintenance of hardcopy forms and files covering the various requirements for a gun transaction. Were something similar to the Washington Navy Yard incident occur, these gun dealers would have to perform a manual search to determine the lifecycle of the firearm. Plus, they would not have timely access to a full-color photo ID. Sifting through pages of paperwork is time-consuming, and in situations where a gun crime is committed, time is of the essence for law enforcement.

“There are a number of POS systems in use that have the means to search and verify gun transactions,” comments Want. “Very few have the means to produce the driver’s license photo associated with the transaction. This is one way that our OneStep solution is more than just a software application; it becomes a useful tool for law enforcement.”

Through BCSC’s OneStep software, when a potential gun purchaser furnishes their driver’s license, the license is scanned and all data points, including the photo, are captured and automatically filtered into the appropriate data fields in the system. As neither the gun dealer nor the buyer has to handwrite or keyboard information, the possibility of human error is virtually eliminated.

In addition, OneStep also allows for the digital processing and storage of the Firearms Transaction Record, or Form 4473, a requirement for any purchaser of a firearm under federal law. As a long-standing solution in the industry, it is recognized by the ATF as an approved and compliant system for conducting legal gun transactions. ATF rules and regulations governing all Federal Firearm License holders are described in a 228-page regulations reference guide. “We specifically designed our solution to directly align with ATF requirements,” commented Want. “With OneStep, gun dealers can be assured that they are making a transaction that is in full compliance with ATF regulations.”

As dealers are frequently subjected to ATF surprise audits, OneStep enables them to instantly and accurately produce records as proof of compliance with regulations. A purchaser’s complete identification background, buying history, Form 4473, and any other related documentation associated with a transaction are all centrally stored and immediately retrievable from the system database. This is especially important if a suspect in a gun-related incident remains at large. Fast and immediate access to information that will help positively identify a suspect is critical in helping law enforcement.

In addition to automating the accurate completion of the Form 4473, OneStep also can accommodate the Form 3310 involved with the purchase of multiple handguns. With the integration of OneStep, gun dealers are able to conduct an inventory more quickly and accurately, ensuring that no gun goes missing, and all firearms in the possession of a dealer are accounted for up to the time of purchase. BCSC also supports dealers with compliant records archiving, either by instituting a data back-up program, or establishing an off-site colocation data center.

“Technology has made great strides since we first started working with gun dealers to implement compliant digital transaction methods more than 20 years ago,” Want comments. “But we can be doing so much more to further ensure the safe and proper disposition of firearms.” Recently, BCSC introduced a tablet-based interface at point-of-sale at several of its gun dealer customer locations. In addition to capturing data required for the transaction, the OneStep system can capture the video of the transaction along with a current photo of the customer.

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About Business Control Systems Corporation (BCSC)

Based in Iselin, NJ, BCSC is a leading provider of turnkey point-of-sale systems and solutions for retailers. The company’s proprietary software called OneStep is an ATF-compliant solution designed to enable gun dealerships to accurately conduct transactions in full compliance with State and Federal regulations governing the proper disposition of firearms. In conjunction with OneStep, gun dealers are able to gather and store complete digital records of all gun purchasers, as well as accurately, efficiently and digitally process and store all documentation associated with a legal gun transaction.

 

42 Responses to FFL Dealers Making Electronic Copies of Your Purchase Info. Happy?

  1. Old News.National gun registration has been around since the ATF Etrace database went online.

    Besides, it’s the year 2013.We’re well beyond paper documents nowadays.If the man wants to know who owns a gun or three, they won’t quiery the ATF. They’ll subpoena the sales records of ammo companies , reloading firms, and websites like Cheaper Then Dirt.The businesses who don’t comply will be sued into oblivion.

    Lets even assume every commercial online vendor flips off Uncle Sam.The next phone call will be to your bank-and rest assured, they WILL turn over your expense record to the justice department.Even a dumb Federal drone knows what “ATM POS $549.99 JOE GUN & PAWN” means.

    • Cash payment solves that problem nicely. Especially at LGS’s that are true supporters of the constitution. Love my local gunshop.

      • Iike getting fracked up the arse when they jacked up ammo and AR prices and still selling mags at $45. Yep love my LGS.

  2. I work in technology (see: username) and I’ve been in the Internet business since the Internet became a thing people used. I design and build large-scale Internet products and services; odds are that many of you have used a product or service I worked on. Bona fides: established.

    That’s all by way of saying that the only way to own firearm(s) which aren’t trivially easy to match up with your name is to build the serialized, carefully monitored components yourself. I’m talking 80% receivers here, people.

    It’s not especially private to pull out your MC/Visa/Amex and buy 80% receiver(s) and a jig online. Do so and you’ve created electronic records with the seller, the payment processor, and the issuing bank for your card.

    The only way to break that trail is with cash, and via an exchange wherein the parties do not know real-world identities: a regional-area group buy, mediated by an open forum such as calguns.net, resulting in a face-to-face exchange of cash for parts with the group buy coordinator.

    Personally, I’m too lazy for all that. I’m planning to build a couple of DPMS-pattern 7.62×51 AR lowers from 80% blanks, but that’s more of an economic decision than a privacy one.

      • Yes and no. The failure-to-scale of the ACA website during initial peak loading is what happens when you apply traditional government product design standards and procurement practices (which work pretty well for normal-scale stuff) and apply it to Internet-scale services.

        I absolutely do know how to launch massively scalable services with insane initial peak loads, plus the ability to economically scale down to normal operating levels after that. On the other hand, even if I had been in charge of the ACA launch site, there’s no way in hell I could have actually accomplished that due to friction with the traditional IT approach (that usually works) in big gov’t.

        The bad thing is that I can’t stop myself from reading about the scalability problems, and getting aggravated because it’s clear that all of the problems are solvable if you know what you’re doing.

        • The massive rush has passed…still doesn’t work. The folks I see wanting free healthcare are not usually a determined bunch…if it isn’t easy then why bother getting a job, education or skill set? Anyway, I hear the exchanges aren’t getting accurate data from the “signup” site either. Apparently, somebody can’t build a xml or csv file with a sql script.

    • There are also 10s of millions of gun owners in this nation. It would be much easier to track our every move, except for the sheer volume of people. The legitimate system has gaping holes in everythig from NICS to 4473 forms. The Black Market and Grey Market, with cash transfers, is virtually impossible to track. Border security is also less than stellar. To put it simply, the NSA already knows that they can KMA. Since there are so many gun owners, the only way to effectively control them – for now – is to make multiple incremental infringements upon their rights. It is fairly obvious that this administration wants as much information from us as possible, and they don’t care about the legality or constitutionality of obtaining said information.

    • It’s not just enough to buy the 80% components off the grid:you also have to buy the other parts to complete the weapon face to face via cash.

      That means magazines, firing pins, bolt carrier groups, riflebbarrels, sights, all of it has to be bought face to face.Otherwise, even one entry on your account saying “DEBIT SALE MAGPUL INDUSTRIES” is a giant red flag. Hippies and good Democrat voters don’t buy AR15 parts.

      • My working assumption is that anyone with the skills, awareness and gumption to finish an 80% receiver correctly is quite likely to own other firearms of some type already. As such, they’ve already irrevocably crossed the “known buyer of gun stuff” threshold.

        You’d have to be quite the crazy desperado to be a gun guy in this day and age without ever having made a documented purchase indicative of gun ownership.

  3. When there’s a high-profile shooting, the first thing that the scvmbags at the ATF do is descend like a pack of wolves on the FFL who sold the gun. I can’t blame FFLs for covering their @sses.

    And they know which FFL sold the gun because there’s a registry.

  4. We shouldve seen this comin they already do it at most parts stores like Advanced Auto those guys know no matter where I go what year make and model I need parts for after I give em my name same with most car lots everything is going digital may as well learn to embrace it.

    • Also look at it from the FFL’s side they can keep better track of their records they can track who buys what and focus marketing they can keep better tabs on inventory far as what’s hot and what’s not it’s a handy business tool for them.

  5. The idea that in 2013 the FEDS don’t already have an extensive listing of all gun owners kindof surprises me. Have folks not been paying attention? Anyway, the NSA vacums up nearly all the Internet traffic in the world. That means any digital “exhaust” of anyone in the USofA. If not the NSA then the Brits. They trade the info back and forth. All this is public knowledge.

    They work with systems that are next generation or two. Stuff you won’t see for 20 years. It churns 24/7. What do you think the work product is? Who Susie nobody is mad at today? It is sitting there building a real world, living, breathing entity that “is” a mirror of the world. They have been doing this for decades. They know everyone who owned or owns a gun, what make and model, how much ammo etc. While the FEDS may not be able to bring this info into court, they freely trade it with other departments so that they can do what they want with it. All this is public knowledge.

    Let me illustrate with a much more prosaic example. The NYPD can’t walk into a gunshop and demand to see the FFL books. The ATF can. So the ATF in the NYC area bring the NYPD into the shop with them. The NYPD gets the info they want and thats that. All this is public knowledge.

    • Point of order: these days, the NSA tends to be 2-4 years ahead in applied technology, which is 2-4 generations. Their sustainable advantage comes from privileged access to information flows (see: IP traffic capture centers at major Internet connection points) and being seriously far ahead (4-8 years, depending on field) on the mathematics of cryptography.

    • “So the ATF in the NYC area bring the NYPD into the shop with them. The NYPD gets the info they want and thats that. All this is public knowledge.”

      More like:

      The ATF guy in the Regional Fusion Center retrieves the FFLs and banks records in the NSA database, and then goes on a head call. On the way, he taps the NYPD liaison on the shoulder. The liaison walks over to the unlocked ATF liaison’s PC, gets exactly what he wants, and sits back down at his position. The ATF liaison comes back, and all is good.

      Common knowledge for anyone who’s ever worked in a joint environment.

  6. ““There are a number of POS systems in use that have the means to search and verify gun transactions,”

    I don’t think POS means what he thinks it means.

  7. To RF:

    Per our exchange earlier, this is where there needs to be a fight. The registration issue is a core principle that cannot and should not be broken or bent, yet it’s being nibbled at every year. I think that the community is doing itself a disservice by maintaining an overly broad “no more laws” stance, where there needs to be pinpoint focus on the key issues of registration, AWBs, and the like.

    • “No more laws” covers registration, AWBs, and the like, so I’m fine with it. I am never going to say “no more laws, but . . . .” That’s like saying, “I support the Second Amendment, but . . . .”

      Once you start peeling that particular onion, the whole damn thing falls apart.

      • Hey guys, instead of “No more laws” how about we aggressively start pushing back for specific laws that enhance our RKBA? Let’s take the initiative for a change.

    • I agree completely. If you perform any non-cash transaction there’s a file on you. Probably several. And if anyone has held or holds a sensitive security clearance there’s an audit trail on you a mile wide and a mile deep. (BTW, getting a SECRET anymore is almost as difficult as being bonded to handle cash. Local wants and warants, a NACI and a CBI – you’re good to go…)

    • Kyle, there already is a registry. It’s not complete, but it is a “Who Owns a Firearm” registry. They don’t even need to know everything you own. It’s much more valuable to know that you are an owner. Ever buy a hunting license? You’re on it. Ever buy ammo with a plastic card? You’re on it. Ever obtained a CCW? You’re on it. It’s not legal, but the Feds have made it abundantly clear during the last two presidents that the legality of their actions is of no concern to them.

      • Unfortunately privacy in general is being eroded. But I would argue that preventing a registry from being normalized is at least a step in the right direction.

    • Kyle you have several postings advocating universal background checks. There is no such thing at all without universal registration.

      None of this will have any impact on violent crime whatsoever.

      If anything background check advocates are aiding criminals by distracting from them

  8. Well, I guess I won’t be buying a gun from them. I was thinking about it, but there are several others near me that I can use too. The one good thing about them is their indoor range.

  9. I remember back in the early 90s seeing a certain Virginia AG usurping the Feds by making any data system unauthorized messing around for data within or passing through Virginia a felony under a new state law. I’m wondering if that law is still on the books, as I saw no mention of the State Police going after the miscreant. Are they not enforcing their own data security laws either now? Or is he a Democrat?

  10. Bound books ARE defacto registration. And I can say that because I work at an FFL. The bound book contains the gun, the serial, the name it was signed in and out to and, on the out side, your 4473 form. Now – all of that info stays at the gun store… for, ready for it? As long as the gun store is in business for 20 years. After 20 years they can destroy them in a fire. However if they go out of business in that time they MUST be turned over to the ATF.

    And on that note, I can tell you that the ATF will have shut down most small FFL’s within a 20 year time. They are unforgiving in your paperwork, keeping a log of all mistakes you might make and, eventually, claiming that you have made too many to keep your FFL. They shut you down, take the paperwork, and just like that – you’re on a federally maintained list of gun owners.

    Enjoy the tinfoil!

  11. OK, a couple more things that people don’t seem to understand about FFL’s:

    1. When your FFL goes out of business (for whatever reason), all his 4473’s (in paper or electronic form) are bundled up and sent off to the ATF, where they presumably put them into a searchable database.

    2. When the ATF conducts a forward trace, you’d better be able to cough up the info they want in a pretty short amount of time. If it is a high-profile situation, they’ll not only call you, they’ll knock on your door. If you’re not in, they might even break in to get access to your books.

    The response of more and more FFL’s is to go to online records. That way, you don’t have to be at your place of business, next to the printed forms, in order to answer a forward trace inquiry. You just whip open your laptop, open the database of your records and you’ve responded in a few minutes to the ATF inquiries. ATF is now off your back, you can go about your business.

    That said, most fellow FFL’s I know don’t use a service like the one above, they have a record keeping program on their laptop. We use hard copy 4473’s, but we copy the information into a spreadsheet for reference should we get an inquiry. The master copies are the paper ones.

    3. The FBI, through the NICS program, already is keeping tabs on who is buying guns.

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  14. LOL BCSC isn’t compliant with anything. They are seriously the worst dumbest company out there. Be more concerned that retards like them have your credit card numbers. Business Control Systems Corp is a fraudulent company. When i worked at this one place i watched as they copy pasted customer info with cc numbers into emails. Unlike Crazy people thinking someones coming to take their guns, back in the real world your identity and your money is gone. Obviously bcsc found a customer dumber than the company, and they are ran off to have Gay Loving Marriage. And by night prowling the streets converting the non-gays, and taking their guns.

  15. Good grief my state has had the tax system hacked twice. My 16 y/o had credit cards issued in his name just changed his
    D.O.B. the states DUI database hacked & crashed. Everything supposedly 100% reconstructed & “hackproof”. Remember you can always trust the government just ask any Indian Tribe we signed a treaty with.

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