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.
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.