The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said that the government maintains a database of 920,664,765 firearm purchase records, according to news reports.
Moreover, they possess both digital and hard copies of these records, according to The Washington Free Beacon, which said Monday they had obtained confirmation of the information from the federal agency.
The news has sent a shock wave throughout the pro-gun community.
The ATF disclosed this information to Congress in a Dec. 21, 2021, letter sent to a group of House Republicans led by Texas Rep. Michael Cloud, in response to their inquiry from the previous month.
According to the Free Beacon, current federal law requires that when a licensed gun store goes out of business, “private records detailing gun transactions become ATF property and are stored at a federal site in West Virginia.” Pro-Second Amendment groups have long been concerned that the government would create a national database of firearm owners, which the media website reports is a violation of “longstanding federal statutes.”
In November, the Free Beacon reported that the Biden ATF had obtained records for “over 54 million gun transactions in 2021.” Shocked by this information, Cloud and 51 of his Republican colleagues opened an investigation. The group is concerned that the government will start to surveil gun owners or even try to take their firearms away.
Cloud told the Free Beacon: “A federal firearm registry is explicitly banned by law. Yet, the Biden administration is again circumventing Congress and enabling the notably corrupt ATF to manage a database of nearly a billion gun transfer records. Under the president’s watch, the ATF has increased surveillance on American gun owners at an abhorrent level. The Biden administration continues to empower criminals and foreign nationals while threatening the rights of law-abiding Americans. It’s shameful and this administration should reconsider its continued attacks on American gun owners.”
Of course, the ATF denies these concerns, claiming instead the database is “used to trace firearms tied to crimes.”
Under current federal law, gun stores are permitted to destroy purchase records after 20 years, according to the Free Beacon. However, the Biden Administration is trying to change this law, forcing stores “to maintain their records in perpetuity, meaning that when a store closes, the ATF receives all of its records.”
Cloud and his colleagues are vehemently opposed to this initiative. In the group’s November letter to the ATF, they wrote, this “means that 100 percent of all lawful commercial firearm transfers would eventually end up in an ATF computer system, thereby creating a permanent database.”
In their response to the House Republicans, the ATF reiterated their claim that the “sole purpose” of their efforts to change the law “is to trace firearms used in crimes.”
They wrote that the ATF’s National Tracing Center “has no ability to determine the successful prosecution of hundreds of thousands of crime gun traces it completes annually, nor does it have any way to link a trace for a specific prosecution for a particular year.”
The ATF told the Congressmen they have no idea if the traces it conducts actually helps to solve crimes, but they might.
The Free Beacon spoke to Aidan Johnston, director of federal affairs for Gun Owners of America, a group that has been closely monitoring the ATF’s actions. He said, “Make no mistake—this is clear evidence that a partial national gun registry exists. If the American people don’t stand up for their rights now, Biden’s anti-gun ATF will be able to track gun owners, infringe on our rights, and potentially even confiscate our firearms.”
So, the ATF admits they have a massive gun database with nearly a billion records on guns sales in the U.S.
They claim they are not tracking people with the database. It is used only to supplement a government manhunt or investigation, yet they’re not exactly sure if any of the more than half-million traces conducted in 2021 actually helped to solve any crimes.
They are actively trying to change the law so they can obtain all gun sale records when a store closes, rather than just 20 years of records.
Although it doesn’t seem gun owners are currently being watched in real time, it does show that the government knows way more about gun owners than they should, which is why its existence was kept a secret.
The government is not using the data — until it is. The risk is that this data could potentially be weaponized to wreak havoc in the lives of gun owners.
Although this story falls short of being a smoking gun per se, it does show that the Biden administration has a de facto national gun registry, which is explicitly illegal.
Given this administration’s track record of corruption, deceit and persecution of those who disagree with them, does anyone honestly think they can be trusted?
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.