A former police officer who prefers to remain anonymous writes . . .
For those readers of this site who believe a firearms registry already exists, this won’t be a surprise. For those who have doubts, maybe this will show otherwise. I had a long career in law enforcement, working some interesting cases. One case in particular opened my eyes as to how all inclusive the NICS system is, and how long the non-records are recorded for record keeping sake.
The case involved tracking a bad guy before, during and after his deed. I’ll try not to lose you in the weeds here, but some detail is in order. When most, if not all police officers check someone to see if they are wanted, it involves both an in-state check and a nationwide check.
Let’s say you get pulled over for speeding. Besides checking to see if your driver’s license is valid, you are also run through a statewide database and the national database known as NCIC. That stands for National Crime Information Center. This is to see if that warrant issued in Georgia is still there since you moved to Nevada.
Each and every time a check is run, it’s recorded. And archived. They record who or what was checked, which agency checked and, if the officer is using an in-car computer, which officer did the checking.
The same thing happens if your car’s license plate is checked, or if a serial number is checked.
So there you are at your local gun store, buying that gun you’ve been eyeing and saving your money for. You fill out the form 4473 and wait while the employee calls his local state police or NICS. You are checked and so is the gun.
You are checked to make sure you’re not a felon or an otherwise “prohibited person.” The gun is checked to make sure it’s not stolen. You aren’t just checked locally, your information is run nationwide.
Both the gun and you have been checked virtually simultaneously, time- and date-stamped. Forever. Check and mate.
But back to our bad guy. He was caught by checking the NCIC database. We asked them to check to see if his license plate had ever been run or if he had been run individually by anyone, anywhere, any time. He had been. Many times, by many agencies. So was his license plate. We were able to use this information to help convict him.
Whether it’s legal or not — and it isn’t — I have no doubt that every time I bought a firearm after filling out a 4473, that information is now generating a permanent record. Somewhere. That’s why I try to buy from garage sales, friends, family, etc.
In my state, this is completely legal. No muss, no fuss. No fingerprints, no background check. And best of all, no permanent record created by our not-so-friendly government.