The on-again, off-again, on-again, off-again ATF long gun registry is on-again. You know: the 60-day emergency > ninety-day temporary > one-year trial (with option to renew) requirement that 8500 U.S. gun dealers near the Mexican border must immediately report the name and address of all U.S. gun buyers purchasing two or more magazine-fed rifles. reuters.com reports that “The White House is pressing ahead with rules meant to slow the flow of weapons to Mexico, a high-ranking U.S. official said on Wednesday, despite fears among gun control advocates that the Obama administration may be backing away from the plan.” Fears? Let’s try that again, shall we? . . .
Lest we forget, earlier this month, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) publicly stated that the feds had cancelled the long gun registry paperwork required, after President Obama complained that the salmon industry was plagued with red tape. And no, I did not make that up. Besides, the OMB said they couldn’t hurry this through because [alleged] U.S. to Mexico gun smuggling wasn’t an emergency (like, say, a federally declared disaster).
And yet, for some reason, the public consultation period on the long gun registry regulation went forward. All the way to Valentine’s Day (the ATF somehow forgot to reset the clock after creating a truncated three-week consultation phase that ran over Christmas and New Year’s).
This was a clear indication that the ATF and the administration was going ahead with the registry—despite the Gunwalker scandal’s “lost” firearms and the obvious implication that the ATF has no fucking clue what it’s doing. According to inside sources, the public comments ran against the registry at a rate of roughly 1000 to one.
And? Even before the comments could be logged under the ATF’s enemies list (again, I’m not making that up), the ATF is officially announcing that it’s damn the damnation, full speed ahead. Acting Head Melson’s number one, William Hoover [above, right], made it official.
“I truly believe that everyone in the administration supports this and I’m pretty confident that we’ll get it done,” said William Hoover, acting deputy director of ATF, in an interview.
So, once again, the Obama administration’s opinion trumps public sentiment. But it’s worse than that . . .
There’s one little detail—well, one really important one—that’s been left out of all the nominal discussions about this long-gun registry. What happens to the information? There has been no official declaration, or document, mandating the destruction of the data within a given time period. Until yesterday.
“This is just a shallow excuse to engage in a sweeping firearms registration scheme,” NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre said last year on the group’s website.
Hoover denied that the ATF is seeking to create a national registry, and said records would be kept for 24 months and then destroyed if not acted on by investigators.
Again, please note that we only have Mr. Hoover’s word for that. Show us the regulation. Meanwhile, what are the protocols for sharing the data? Will the Mexican police have access? Will the sales data be entered into the ATF’s e-Trace system so that several dozen foreign governments will have access?
Bottom line: the federal long gun registry “pilot program” isn’t dead. It doesn’t even appear to be wounded. Not to coin a phrase, that’s some scary ass shit right there.
Can anything be done to stop this or will the ATF’s newest gun registry move forward regardless of what we say or do?
No, there’s nothing we can do and yes, it will move forward. It can only be stopped by a lawsuit by a party who is at risk or in violation of the reg proving that ATF improperly enacted the rule or exceeded its authority. Since courts usually give great deference to regulatory rulemaking, I wouldn’t bet on the latter and the DOJ lawyers will take care of the former.
“Hoover denied that the ATF is seeking to create a national registry, and said records would be kept for 24 months and then destroyed if not acted on by investigators.”
As if 24 months wasn’t plenty of time to enter the information into a database. Besides there isn’t supposed to be a gun registry already, yet they can trace firearms, which means someone is already keeping track of lawful firearms purchases. I know of the requirement of FFL’s to keep their 4473 forms for a period of time, but if this information just sat in the gun shop it would be useless, when these forms are called in during the “nics” obviously someone is recording this information.