In just one year, the Biden Administration has collected records of over 54 million legal gun-owners in the United States, for the purpose of increased surveillance of such citizens by the federal government, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
As shown in internal documents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF), the ATF processed approximately 54.7 million records in fiscal year 2021. These documents were obtained by the gun rights advocacy group Gun Owners of America (GOA). The records in question are “out-of-business” documents, which consist of all firearms-related transactions made by a particular gun store after the store has gone out of business, at which point those records become property of the ATF.
In the year 2021, the ATF used this method to collect 53.8 million paper records, and roughly 887,000 electronic records. Gun stores are currently allowed to destroy records that are 20 years old or older; the Biden Administration is actively pursuing avenues to ensure that such records are made permanent and cannot be destroyed.
Aidan Johnston, GOA’s director of federal affairs, said that “the Biden administration’s misuse of ‘out-of-business’ records doesn’t end there.”
“Instead of maintaining the right of [licensed firearm dealers] to destroy Firearm Transaction Records after 20 years,” Johnston explained, “buried within Biden’s proposed regulations is a provision that would mean every single Firearm Transaction Record going forward would eventually be sent to ATF’s registry in West Virginia.”
The greatest fear among gun advocates, including the GOA, is that the Biden Administration may take steps to create a national registry of all firearms owners. An ATF spokesman rejected this idea, claiming that the ATF’s “National Tracing Center processes millions of out of business records each month…those out of business records do not constitute an initiation or continuation of any federal gun registry.’
But Johnston says that the Biden White House “has forced ATF to undertake the rule-making process in record time,” changing the very procedures by which certain rules are implemented at the executive level in order to achieve these goals. According to Johnston, this has led to “faulty argumentation…demonstrating that neither ATF nor Biden’s anti-gun appointees know anything about the firearms and accessories they seek to regulate.”
The ATF spokesman again denied this, insisting that “Congress and the Government Accountability Office have an opportunity to review any final rule prior to its effective date. The process is anything but ‘speedy.'”