Now the Biden administration is reportedly scanning these documents like mad—records obtained by gun-rights advocates show that in 2021 the ATF processed at least 54 million of them.
The records are the form 4473s that people fill out when they want to purchase a gun. By law, dealers must maintain these records for 20 years. If a firearms dealer goes out of business, they must send their last 20 years of records to the National Tracing Center. It was these records that I saw piled up in the building.
Under this system, over a million of these records are sent to the ATF each month.
Now, ATF proposed rule 2021R-05 would make this record-keeping requirement more burdensome for gun dealers and diminish gun-owner privacy. Under the proposed rule, gun dealers would be required to maintain 4473s indefinitely and would have to relinquish all this data to the ATF if they go out of business.
The National Tracing Center could then get closer to creating a firearm registry if anti-gun lawmakers are able to criminalize the private transfer of firearms—something often referred to as “universal background check” legislation. This would push more transfers through licensed gun dealers, which would create more records.