Two representatives have submitted a bill in Congress that would ban the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives from collecting data related to a firearm purchaser’s race and ethnicity. The Freedom from Intrusive Regulatory Enforcement of Arbitrary Registration Mandates Act (or “FIREARM Act” – well done on the backronym there, guys,) was introduced on Monday by Representatives Diane Black (R-Tenn.) and Ted Poe (R-Tex.) to eliminate a controversial policy begun in recent years by the Obama administration that collects ethnicity and race data from new firearms purchasers . . .
The Hill quotes Rep. Poe as follows:
“Forcing citizens who are lawfully purchasing guns to disclose race and ethnicity with the threat of federal prosecution if they fail to disclose is completely unnecessary,” Poe said in a statement. “Bottom line, if a law-abiding citizen is lawfully purchasing firearms, race and ethnicity are irrelevant.”
What prompted this bill? Well, since 2012, BATFE Form 4473 has required purchasers to first state their “ethnicity”, then their “race”. Wait – aren’t those two rather synonymous? Not in the blinkered minds of the diversity specialists in the Federal Government! No, there’s only one “ethnic” group: “Hispanic”. You’re either in or not. Then there are five “racial” groups: “American Indian or Alaskan Native”, “Black or African American”, “White”, Asian, and “Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander”.
The terms are so vaguely worded to be almost meaningless. The word “or” seems to imply that the term “Black” is not synonymous with “African-American” — so does that mean that the expatriate writer from Zimbabwe (nee Rhodesia) Alexandra Fuller counts as “African-American”? Or RF, whose mother was South African?
Does someone from Japan count as a “Pacific Islander”? What about the Philippines or Indonesia? The best part, however, is the catch-all term “Asian”, which encompasses peoples from Vladivostok to the Suez Canal as one “race”.
So in the BATFE taxonomy, “Hispanics” can be of any race. But Kazakhs, Vietnamese, Mongolians, Indians, and Arabs? All the same thing: “Asian”. I’ve seen Bugs Bunny propaganda cartoons from World War II that treat diversity with more respect than this.
What’s worse is that these are not rhetorical questions. Purchasers are required to fill out the form truthfully and completely. Making a false oral or written statement on the form is punishable as a felony. Further, as the Washington Times reported last year, it’s a regulatory violation that could be severe enough to shut down a firearms retail store if a form is submitted with incomplete or inaccurate information — such as someone just bypassing the “Hispanic” question and just proceeding to check (for example) “White” on the form, thinking it’s all one question.
Where did this policy come from? And why does “Hispanic” appear so prominently on the form, anyway? The BATFE reportedly states that the data is not being recorded. According to The Hill, the BATFE claims that it “has never compiled it in any database.” The federal government mandating the disclosure of ethnic data before exercising a constitutionally-protected civil right is a scary thought. So what’s the point?
Well, it appears that it may be linked to the Obama Administration’s asinine policy of running guns to Mexican organized crime. The Times article elaborates:
During the time ATF revised its 4473 form to include Hispanic or Latino as an ethnicity, the Obama administration was building gun control cases by saying U.S. firearms dealers were supplying Mexican gangs with weapons and that violence related to the sales was seeping across the border.
In March 2009, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Mexico City and gave a speech against American gun stores and owners — blaming them for the drug cartels’ violence. Mrs. Clinton subsequently told CBS News that “90 percent” of the “guns that are used by the drug cartels against the police and military” actually “come from America…..”
This political worldview may have fueled decision-making at ATF, [New Jersey firearms attorney Evan] Nappen suggests. Around the same time that ATF started specifying “Latino/Hispanic” on their U.S. purchasing forms, they also required border firearms dealers in Texas, Arizona, California and New Mexico to start reporting multiple rifle sales.
In 2012, when ATF made the Form 4473 modification, they insisted their new reporting requirement for multiple rifle sales in those border states had led to “follow-up investigations involving transactions that might indicate firearms trafficking activities.”
The BATFE, of course, is an organization within the Department of Justice. The head of the DoJ — both when this ethnic data collection policy on form 4473 was implemented and still today — is Attorney General Eric Holder. Attorney General Holder once famously castigated Americans because “in things racial we have always been and continue to be…a nation of cowards.”
You know what? The Attorney-General may be right. I can think of no explanation other than “cowardice” for the appointment of the charlatans who, under Holder’s supervision, came up with the ethnic data reporting requirement described above. In which case, Representatives Black and Poe deserve our thanks and support for introducing their bill to eliminate this horrid policy of forcing Americans to declare their race and ethnicity before they can exercise their rights, and speaking a little truth to power along the way.