HR 5949, the NICS Data Integrity Act, Could Mean Endless Firearm Purchase Delays

Image via FBI.gov.

Rep. Jimmy Panetta [D-CA] introduced Rep. Rashida Tlaib, [D-MI] (so you know this is going to be wonderful) co-sponsored H.R.5949, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Data Integrity Act of 2020 back in February. It’s high time we took a look at what’s in this thing.

This bill does two things with regard to NICS background checks. First, we have record retention, something the FBI currently isn’t supposed to be doing. This bill would change 34 USC 40901.

From the bill:

“(h) Record retention.—

“(1) DEADLINE FOR RETENTION.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the system may retain records related to a transfer or potential transfer of a firearm to a person who is the subject of a call to the system pursuant to subsections (s) or (t) of section 922 of title 18, United States Code, for as long as necessary to determine whether receipt of a firearm by the person would violate subsections (g) or (n) of such section or State law.

“(2) NOTICE OF RETENTION.—If the system has not determined whether receipt of a firearm by a person would violate subsections (g) or (n) of section 922 of title 18, United States Code, or State law within 30 days after a call to the system with respect the person, the system shall notify the person in writing (or by electronic mail if the person has consented to the use of electronic mail) that—

“(A) the system may retain records relating to the person and the transfer of a firearm until the system determines that receipt of such firearm by the person does not violate subsections (g) or (n) of section 922 of title 18, United States Code, or State law; and

“(B) the person may submit to the Attorney General information to correct, clarify, or supplement records (with respect to the person) retained by the system in accordance with this section and any regulation established by the Attorney General.”.

This change allows the federal government to hold records indefinitely once they’ve delayed a purchase, until the government can find the problem or the buyer can prove to their bureaucratic satisfaction that they are worthy of gun ownership.

The bill will also make it more likely that your firearm purchase will be delayed by the NICS system.

If they then deny you, they can retain the records until such time as you prove to them that you are innocent. That’s bad, because the bill also adds this to the law:

“(L) SEARCH OF NATIONAL DATA EXCHANGE DATABASE.—The system established under this section shall search the database of the National Data Exchange when conducting a background check under this section.”.

You may know that a NICS check actually involves checking multiple databases for things like convictions, active warrants, or protective orders, etc. Should this bill pass, the National Data Exchange (N-DEx) System will also be checked. If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s an investigative tool, not a database of known criminals.

N-DEx contains incident, arrest, and booking reports; pretrial investigations; supervised released reports; calls for service; photos; and field contact/identification records.

When you see a TV cop radioing for a check on someone during a traffic stop, N-Dex is where they look. Record-keeping is bad enough, but adding the N-Dex investigation tool to the background check is far worse.

You could appear in N-Dex as nothing but an interviewed witness, and it would be up to you to prove that. Just having your name appear in the database, for perfectly innocent reasons, is all the excuse NICS would need to “delay” your purchase and force you to prove a lack of guilt before buying a firearm.

Imagine a hypthetical N-Dex search that turns up multiple hits on a buyer simply because he lives in a rough neighborhood and was a witness in multiple gang-related incidents. Maybe that’s exactly why he thinks he needs a gun now; for protection from those criminals.

But the NICS gnomes could claim, “Hmm. He keeps turning up in gang shootouts. Maybe he’s actually involved. We better put a hold on him while we check this out more carefully.” It would be up to the poor sap to try to prove that he was filing complaints about crimes, not participating in them.

Should HR 5717 leave us any guns to buy, HR 5949 will ensure we still can’t take them home.

comments

  1. avatar RGP says:

    I’d bet a pile of Bolivian pesos that the FBI is already retaining every single transfer record and probably has been doing that for years.

    This isn’t the world that was what we thought was normal. We’re already in that formerly fictitious world where billionaires really are making their own space ships and there really IS a secret government and they really are out to get us.

    1. avatar MarkPA says:

      We can suspect that the FBI is retaining records, but proving so will be exceedingly unlikely. It is unlikely that they are doing so without a high probability that too many people will become aware of the flagrant violation.

      If evidence leaks out that it’s happening the SWITF. That would bring a halt to the process. And, if halted, that ends the benefit of accumulating history.

      The .gov would need to accumulate a lot of history to use the data for a confiscation drive. Just having 1 or 2 years of history doesn’t help enough. They would need 10 or 20 years.

      A vastly greater concern is the accumulation of 20 years of 4473 forms. A Democrat-controlled Congress and President could compel all FFLs to send all these archives to Washington overnight.

      We would be much better off if we reduced the retention period to 10 or 7 years.

      1. avatar todd says:

        If the FBI IS retaining records, what are the odds they’d be able to find what they needed? As we constantly learn, they never seem to be able to locate necessary records. Of course, all those are records of Democrats, so that may play a part.

    2. avatar enuf says:

      Never did get to Bolivia.

      I had a pile of Chilean pesos left over from a long time down there, a contract job back in the latter ’90’s. Sold it to a NBC News camera operator going there to record hi-def video of Tierra Del Fuego. What would have been a Chilean’s month’s wages in a good job was barely $100 American, at that time.

      Only guns I saw down there were in the hands of cops, soldiers, embassy guards and two shotgun carrying scientists with a permit to shoot birds to study their biology.

    3. avatar Shooting select fire MP5's in Alaska says:

      I used to really believe that the FBI/ATF kept all the records that they promised us that they would not. But… I’ve had a FFL/SOT for over 30 years and many times received phone calls and later either e-mails or phone calls from both ATF and/or the FBI requesting copies of 4473’s on customers… they never really told me the whole story of the requests, just that the gun had been illegally modified or was in the possession of a known felon or was used in a crime. I supplied info over the phone and later with computers would scan and send them the whole copy. I never heard back from them ever about any of the requests. It would make me think they didn’t have access to the records or they were going through a lot of trouble many times just to keep up the farce that they didn’t have it.

      1. avatar Darkman says:

        Make No mistake boys and girls. After working in government for 20+ years. I can tell you the government keeps lists of everything. They have thousands of warehouses all over the country full of things as old as WW I records. Nothing gets destroyed. There is a section of caves outside Kansas City. With truck load after truck load of records. Both State and Federal. During the ’93 flood we moved enough stuff stored near the Mississippi and Missouri rivers to fill a train. Which is where it was stored. After the flood it was all moved back in to the caves and other warehouses. To believe the government doesn’t keep records of firearms purchases. Is naive at best. They have entire departments with thousands of people collecting data that even the people collecting it. Have little or no understanding of what it is. Keeping secrets is one of the most important things the government does. Especially from the citizenry. Trust without verification is a Fool’s Gambit. And those in control of such things. Decides who can verify the What, When, and Where. Keep Your Powder Dry.

        1. avatar Warwolf says:

          Amen dude. Good post.

        2. avatar todd says:

          They may keep it, but could they ever find what they need? I’ve hear the ATF’s records are pathetic and they, more often than not, go to the gun dealers as they can’t find their own records.

        3. avatar JW says:

          FFL records are kept in section L7-6352A, one aisle over from the ark of the covenant.

        4. avatar matthew newton says:

          Since I work directly in IT for the feds. I can tell you that is also BS when it comes to electronic records. I am well aware of such old paper archives. Microfilm/fiche, etc. But when it comes to digital. It either gets archived based on a rule.

          Our system back-ups aren’t in perpetuity either. As new versioning will eventually write over the old ones (usually within a few days or a couple of weeks depending on the backup rules).

          I’d be very, very surprised if they were keeping digital records of the 4473 at any time past the basic retention rule (just until approve/denied/hold and the transfer/30-days, right?)

          Ask OMB for the SOR (System Of Records) information on NICS. FBI is required to give that information to OMB. Just file a FOIA request with them. It includes retention length and what kind of data is kept.

        5. avatar GS650G says:

          The. Cloud has made it possible and cheap to store everything forever.

      2. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Shooting, the folks calling you did not have access to an illegal database, but that does not mean that an illegal database did not exist. They did not *need* an illegal database since their activities were legal and honorable. If you got clued into a group who were devoted to finding a way to confiscate all firearms, chances are they would find that database within a week.

      3. avatar neiowa says:

        Shooting select fire MP5’s in Alaska – legal standard for maintaining 4473 is 20yr. Then purge your files. Past that screw the Feds

  2. avatar Steve Eisenberg says:

    Kyna sobering, when you think about it.

  3. avatar GS650G says:

    Assume every gun you filled a 4473 out to buy is in a SQL database and your name is next to it. I know the call just says the type of gun however your name and info can easily be cross referenced a myriad of ways.

    Guns you acquired from people who passed or never did paperwork on 30, 40 years ago are worth a lot more than blue book.

    1. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

      The easist way for anyone to track us enthusiasts is what magazines, ammo, and accessories we purchased using a credit card.

      1. avatar Rad Man says:

        That is also true. Order an 80% lower with a credit card then all the parts and ammo with the same card. How private is your homebrewed pistol again?

        1. avatar RGP says:

          I got swindled and I’ve been meaning to file a complaint because none of that stuff I ordered ever arrived…

        2. avatar LarryinTX says:

          I couldn’t figure out how to put it together, sold it to a guy at a gun show, pretty sure his name was something Jones.

      2. avatar matthew newton says:

        Exactly! So if the ATF/FBI/State police get a warrant for the credit card company. And the credit card companies records go back far enough, they’ll know what kind of firearm accessory merchants you bought stuff from. They can then get a warrant for the merchants to get their sales records seeing exactly what you bought. Supposing the merchant has records that extend that far back.

        But merchants don’t tell your CC company what you bought if that is what you were thinking. And more than a little trouble to try to do that as a national confiscation thingie.

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          Yeah, and we seem to be assuming a lot of competence from guys in government who do not obey the law or have much respect for the citizenry. I would suspect such people would have a hard time just retaining their jobs. Which does not mean we shouldn’t be on our toes, just that it’s probably not a crisis.

  4. avatar bob cosenza says:

    we know big brother has been watching us,and infiltrating for a long time,j edgar hoover kept tabs on people ike martin luther king and others.want examples watch hannity and see what the deep state,and the fbi and doj have been doing.hannity mon-fri 9 pm est cable channel 44.and mark levin on life liberty and levin sunday nights.

  5. avatar tdiinva says:

    Not that this could pass in the future it’s going nowhere now. If the time comes when this could pass then gun owners have a lot more to worry about.

  6. avatar Bortan says:

    Bought a pistol 2 years ago at dealer.
    Sold it through gunbroker.
    Box mysteriously ripped open in mail.
    Post office found pistol, got my name and address from sales records.
    I’m glad I got the pistol back but what happened to not keeping permanent records?

    1. avatar Dave in PTC says:

      Bortan, what explanation did the Post Office give you for the open box incident.

    2. avatar enuf says:

      Could have gone like this:

      Manufacturers can say where a gun was shipped by their serial number records.

      A gun shop keeps records a long time, turns over it’s records to the ATF when it goes out of business.

      So, postal coppers contacted the manufacturer, who identified the retailer it was shipped to, who looked thru their records and pointed you out.

      Does not always work, but it works more often than not.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        That has a good chance if you purchased the gun new. I don’t think there is an equal chance for a gun purchased used. To my knowledge, the record of manufacture and the 4473 are the only legal permanent records.

        1. avatar Hydguy says:

          And you would be incorrect.

    3. avatar Hydguy says:

      They asked the BATFE to run a trace.
      PO contacts BATFE, supplies make, model, SN.
      BATFE contacts manufacturer/importer and gets the info in the distributor, then the FFL who received it. FFL gets a call from the BATFE, with the same info provided, and a time frame of when the FFL received the gun. FFL then looks through either their bound book (or approved digital sales database) and supplies the purchaser’s info to the BATFE.
      FFL’s have to maintain their books and 4473s for 20 years. Any records over 20 years old can be destroyed. Bound books can be destroyed 20 years after the book has been fully used (all logged guns in the book have a disposition at least 20 years old) and closed out.
      If the FFL closes/surrenders their license, all records and books under 20 years old must be sent to the BATFE.
      Did quite a few trace requests when working at an FFL in NoVa that had been open for over 20 years.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Wow! Thanks a bunch, I learned a lot. I didn’t think bound books and 4473s were ever destroyed.

        1. avatar Hydguy says:

          No problem.
          Glad I could give a little insight to the record keeping practices.

          However, there have been reports that during audits, the inspectors (not field agents) are snapping pictures of the 4473s, without a reasonable explanation.

          While I was taking a leave of absence from the store, they had an audit and the inspector was using a hand held scanner to scan 4473s.
          The lawyers had to get involved to get them to stop, after the inspector threatened to yank the license when the owners told her to stop.

          So some of government employees will always try to make a database, regardless of what the law actually states.

        2. avatar neiowa says:

          Then you have the big retailers (as Cabelas) doing the stupid electronic 4473. Once electronic it never dies. Goes into one big hackable bucket.

  7. avatar Steve says:

    When the cities and County start paying our officers enough to give a shit, then I will worry, they can pass whatever laws they want, but right now all they’re worried about is the speed limit and no one is enforcing the government laws, hell how big would that book be ? Does anybody remember what they wanted to do to the cigarettes, it’s the same thing with the guns, all they want is the money

    1. avatar SuspiciousFisherman says:

      Numerous red flag no-knock raids have already been carried out. Just a couple days ago in Colorado, some boog boys were planning an open carry protest. Arrested before they even got the chance. The tyrants are already doing their bidding. You should be worried now. WACO…

    2. avatar neiowa says:

      YEAH because under paid popo is the big problem with the US

  8. avatar WI Patriot says:

    “Rep. Jimmy Panetta [D-CA] introduced Rep. Rashida Tlaib, [D-MI] ”

    Nope, burn it, use to wipe your butt, but kill it…

  9. avatar enuf says:

    There should never be records kept on what the common, honest, law abiding people do. Certainly not with firearms, ammunition, gun parts and accessories, that’s for sure.

    That applies first and foremost to big business, credit card companies, marketing companies, purveyors of mass data collection. It should not be merely prohibited to track and analyze such data, it should be a Felony on the level of Rape, Murder and Treason in a time of war.

    Government is second on that list, because they do a piss poor job and are a lesser threat. But still, same deal, should be a major felony for any government agency to engage in such behavior.

    1. avatar SuspiciousFisherman says:

      Great points. Totally agree. Private businesses too. Just look at how much information gets stolen from you on the internet. The government will never step in because they buy it off those companies. Any invasion of privacy and tracking of information should be illegal. Sad thing is, they word it so loosely and now days if you have any presence of credit history, you are being tracked. Even without it, they can check cameras.

  10. avatar LifeSavor says:

    Radish Taliban. One of the nicknames floating around for her.

    1. avatar Tired of the bs says:

      Love it, well at least I can pronounce it.

  11. avatar NORDNEG says:

    They should’ve used the N-DEx system to check out the “SQUAD”, all the dirty’s these losers have pulled, maybe they could have stopped them from being in AMERICAN politics.

  12. avatar Dennis says:

    Anything that terrorist has her name attached to should be sh*tcanned out of hand!

  13. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    All gun control is un Constitutional as is this and Rep. Jimmy Panetta [D-CA] introduced Rep. Rashida Tlaib, [D-MI] need to be held accountable for violating their oath by proposing said un Constitutional garbage ,as they have already proven themselves guilty as charged.

  14. avatar Anon says:

    After 9/11, PBS Frontline had a program on the 850,000 added people on the Fed payroll, employees, Contractors, TSA etc to stop terrorists. They had pictures of buildings that looked small with incredibly large, full parking lots (the government dug down).

    You DON’T think they are reading this blog and others, checking credit cards for gun and ammo purchases?

    Big Brother is already watching you and knows where you live and what you have. ive bought alot of ammo online, they know about you Winston!.

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      And I’ll bet my browsing habits and all postings have been forwarded to ASIO, ASIS, and DID.

      I hope they are sufficiently bored as they count down the seconds until retirement.

    2. avatar neiowa says:

      If they only had a few moments to spend watching the Chicom SOBs

  15. avatar Paul Hill says:

    A few years back an ATF agent and a detective came to my home to get a receipt for a gun that a I traded in . I was told that pistol was later sold and then sold again to a convicted felon.
    The agent knew where I traded in the pistol and needed to copy the document. They left to make a copy and returned my document. They just wanted the paper trail .

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Wait! What? A “receipt” for a gun you traded in? WTF kind of receipt? I guess I sold a gun for the first time around 1966, that’s what? 55 years ago? Since then I’ve probably sold around 15 others and given away 4-5. Never did a receipt enter the picture. What are you referring to? And how did they know you had such a receipt?

  16. avatar Ralph says:

    There’s also going to be a new question on the 4473: Do you have Bidenheimer’s Disease?

    The three answer choices are Yes, No, and I Can’t Remember.

    1. avatar GuyInWI says:

      Here I thought the new question was: Gender: Male, Female, Non Binary, MTF, FTM, Depends On What Day It Is, Confused and Furry.

  17. avatar enuf says:

    There’s a reason why lists such as the “No Fly List” and the “Terrorist Watch List” should never be used to prohibit gun purchases. Those lists are chock full of errors, confused entries, names that many people have and it is all a black box that’s just about impossible to correct.

    The “National Data Exchange (N-DEx) System” can be no better and potentially a worse tool for figuring who the bad people are.

    What is needed is for every purchase stopped by NICS to be investigated with the expectation of fixing an error and restoring a citizen’s right to unimpeded access to firearms.

    If it’s truly a felon, we should be hearing about every single arrest, prosecution and conviction. There should be an online perp walk, a web page showing all those criminals in handcuffs and ankle chains. The agency should be bragging it’s fool head off about all the criminals the NICS has helped them catch.

    Short of that, it’s all security theater.

    1. avatar GuyInWI says:

      Lol, but you don’t understand. It’s for your safety. We need to punish the law abiding and criminals equally because guns are scary.

      Signed Republicans and Democrats where people are protesting this unconstitutional lock down. That is is also for your own safety btw.

  18. avatar Texican says:

    If everyone gets the unconstitutional concealed carry permit you don’t have to go thru NICS. At least not in TX. More LTCS would be a good thing and there would be no way to track gun ourchases en masse.

    1. avatar No one of Consequence says:

      And since not every place is Texas, a lot.of is still need to go through the 4473 check even if we have a concealed carry permit.

      Better to do away with the whole thing.

    2. avatar Prndll says:

      It’s a double edge sword. Yes it means being able to buy a firearm with no NICS check. But getting that license also means a much more thorough (actual background) check.

      The left actually tried to push for for this as a means of ‘registering’ the buyers themselves seemingly without realizing that it does mean no NICS check in places like Texas.

      Ultimately it is better to have that license if you can. Regardless of what the democrat left does.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Yeah, I have the LTC, but I don’t attach any terrific healing powers to it. When confiscations begin, I am certain the first visits will be to LTC holders, possibly the last as well, since they are most likely to answer the door with a .308.

  19. avatar MrMax says:

    Stuff like this gives me all the justification in the world to keep machining out my 80% lowers…

    1. avatar MLee says:

      I have a friend and he’s just a busy little beaver with his milling machine.

  20. avatar MLee says:

    It’s simple with the Government, if they say they don’t, they do. If they say they do, they don’t.

    Believing they don’t keep records is like believing the Lame-stream Media. If they get caught, they’ll say it was a clerical error or some other BS that we’re not really supposed to believe but can’t otherwise prove, until we do then they say “were sorry, let’s just move on”

  21. avatar N8thecowboy says:

    There’s an awesome mini doc on YouTube done by GQ about tracing gun records. I suppose it could be fake, but if it’s accurate to what goes on in tracing firearms there isn’t too much to fear about FBI having a handy central database. At least not currently. Who knows what the future holds…

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      True. Some comfort that the FBI/Dept of “Justice” corruption is only surpassed by their incompetence.

  22. avatar carolpshort says:

    This is the best and most financially rewarding job I’ve ever had. I actually started this few Weeks ago and almost immediately started to bring home minimum 74BUCKS p/h. I use details from this Address…. http://www.­6.gp/a72HQ

  23. avatar Wally1 says:

    I know they keep records, I had purchased a Colt 380 about 25 years ago and sold it about six months later because it was a jam-a-matic In 2018 I get a phone call from the local police dept wanting to know if the pistol had been stolen as I was on record as the original purchaser. Evidently the pistol was found in a car they had stopped and didn’t believe the driver that the pistol was his. I told them I had sold this pistol at least 25 years ago. it didn’t present a issue, but showed that records are never destroyed.

    Records don’t go away, however old paper hard copy records may be in a warehouse somewhere.

    If you have any skills and work with your hands, 80% builds is the best way to make your own firearm and avoid gov’t intrusion into your life. .

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      ASSUMING you have NEVER purchased a firearm or accessory at any time. Anyone?

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