Does De Facto Gun Registration Exist In The U.S.?

BY Herschel Smith
10 years, 7 months ago

These observations by Andrew Tuohy have been floating across the gun web for a couple of days.  I have to quote at length, although the entire post is worth reading, as are the comments.

Last year, I was sitting at home when my doorbell rang. Two polite and professional ATF agents informed me that the number of firearms I had purchased from 2007 to 2010 did not match my income. I was disappointed to learn that this fact did not come with some sort of prize or award, but suddenly wondered how they knew what I had purchased. They knew of 5 AR receivers transferred to me on one 4473 (in 2010), for which no background check had been performed. I told them that those receivers, along with most of the firearms I had transferred to me during that time, were provided for free by manufacturers for T&E purposes, and told them about my blog.

When later I asked the FFL about that transaction record, they told me that the ATF had audited their records but didn’t appear to have copied any information – although that is literally the only way they could have known about those five receivers or even the transaction itself. The receivers came from two different manufacturers, and the only time they appeared together was on that 4473, which is supposed to be only retrieved by the ATF if there is a need to trace a specific transaction (and there was no need to trace that transaction). Federal law prohibits their doing so.

A friend was recounting an ATF audit at his gun store, and mentioned that the agents were copying information from 4473s.

I am not the first person to notice this.

I think that ATF Industry Operations agents are using the excuse of auditing the quality of FFL recordkeeping to create a database of firearm owners – or at the very least transferees of certain types of firearms. This is, in essence, a defenestration of the law.

The GAO link states:

Several gun dealers have contacted Gun Owners of America and asked for our advice. Invariably, they say that the ATF is, or has been, at their store — making wholesale copies of their 4473 forms — and they want to know if that’s legal.

We are not going to betray their confidence without permission, but GOA can say that this has occurred enough times to make us believe these are not isolated incidents. (GOA has attached several redacted stories from gun dealers in the Appendix.)

The copying of 4473 forms has happened despite the prohibition in 18 USC 923(g)(1)(D) which specifically prohibits anyone in the Justice Department from “seiz[ing] any records or other documents other than those records or documents constituting material evidence of a violation of law.”

Uncle has the usual quick and insightful summary to offer.  And finally from comments back at Andrew’s blog:

As an FFL who has been through an ATF audit, I can confirm that they are thorough in their investigation, but do NOT scan 4473s (at least not with me). The IOIs, however, are trained to look for patterns of repetition, which IOIs take note of. And, yes, they do appear to be looking for patterns of frequent purchases. Ostensibly, this is to flush out people that are making a business by “flipping” firearms through private sales (which happens, but it’s not rampant).

Now for my assessment.  I have absolutely no problem believing that the ATF has violated the law (and code of federal regulations) at times, and I have no doubt that they will in the future.  I have absolutely no doubt that the ATF wants a comprehensive national gun registry.  Finally, I do not doubt the veracity of any of these anecdotal instances of illegalities.

However, what I do doubt is that the ATF is capable of pulling off a comprehensive national gun registry by audit, and without the assistance of the civilian population.  While they may see form 4473s during audits, and while some ATF employees may make illegal copies of said forms, or write down information that they shouldn’t, I doubt that they could construct a comprehensive database out of said activities that was anything other than laughable and ridiculous.

To be sure, if a national gun registry ever becomes laws, civil war will ensure.  But in the absence of the civil war, the DoJ/ATF would have to rely on FFLs to construct the database for them.

I work with federal employees regularly.  Many of them are stolid and shouldn’t be working in their capacities at all.  Testing should be done before hiring federal employees (assuming that any such position exists after my recommended secession), and any federal applicant who cannot factor a cubic polynomial or solve problems using basic trigonometric functions should be told to hit the road – or go back to school.  Notice that I haven’t raised the bar too high.  I’m not asking them to solve differential equations or Laplace Transforms – just do high school mathematics.

I’m not trying to be insulting, but any database that doesn’t have the input, guidance, formatting and QA to ensure its fidelity from the civilian population doesn’t stand a chance of being anything other than a joke.  That’s why the progressives want it codified into law.  They want the database to be constructed by the very people that it would rule.

In summary, I think Andrew has made a valuable contribution to the state of knowledge of ATF misdeeds, as has the GOA.  I think that the ATF would use any chance to violate the law to press its agenda (Fast and Furious is proof of principle).  I don’t doubt that the ATF has attempted in the past to encroach on the sacred space of form 4473s.  I don’t doubt that they will do it again if given half a chance.  What I do doubt is that the ATF can pull off a national gun registry that has any credibility whatsoever without having us construct it for them.

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  1. On October 10, 2013 at 11:04 pm, Justin said:

    Paper trail = gun registration.

    Yes, we have it here.

  2. On October 10, 2013 at 11:09 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Yes, but Justin, you’re making a different point than the author made. I don’t support paper trails either, but that isn’t really the point here.

    That paper is supposed to be destroyed. Even in cases where it is not completely, some of it is, and the trail doesn’t cover weapons sales from person to person. The point he is making is that he thinks the ATF is constructing said database via audits. I can assure you that audits doesn’t do it for them. It would require us to help them.

  3. On October 11, 2013 at 1:53 am, DAN III said:

    Mr. Smith….”That paper is supposed to be destroyed”. Yeah, just like drivers are supposed to obey the speed limits.

  4. On October 11, 2013 at 8:08 am, Paul B said:

    I would think the 4473 is the low point. Every dealer is required to keep a black book of all firearms they handle. This is the thing that is needed to construct the database.

    However, that being said, since we can sell guns to each other without a paper trail it would be impossible to actually prove you have the gun the database says you have.

    No, if they try to take the guns it will be through fiat with jail time and stiff fines after an amnesty period. What is going on now is plowing the ground so when they do the law we done immediately revolt.

    Make no mistake, the feds want proles. Does not matter if the feds are reps or dems. Most are dems, but that is moot. They will not stop at this point as they are close. We will see something withing 2 years unless the republicans fold on the government shut down. if they fold it will end sooner.

  5. On October 11, 2013 at 8:40 am, Herschel Smith said:

    Let me try this a different way Dan. I wrote this post without putting enough detail into it, too late at night.

    There are two possible allegations. One is that they are using form 4473s to construct a database. I guess I should point out that FFLs are required to keep them for 20 years I believe, and if they go out of business they have to send in the boxes. If this is the allegation, then first of all there are holes in the process, insurmountable holes. Furthermore, I believe that the ATF would have to hire out making this database.

    How do they write the software? It cannot be scanned 4473, because if they scan them with something like Portable document (PDF), the fields are not searchable. So instead of using “John Q. Public,” let’s use “ATF Q. Douchebag.” If they don’t enter the information in fields, they cannot search on “Douchebag” and find anything. They would have to implement a QA program of preparer and checker, with metrics to assess success, and just like the Obamacare software, it will fail unless it’s done right. The Obamacare software will have to be thrown away and a company like Google would have to be hired to make that work. Wasted $600 million.

    But I have no evidence that they are or aren’t using form 4473s sent up in boxes to construct a database. I just claim that they couldn’t do it themselves. They’re don’t have the requisite competence.

    The second allegation might be that they are using audits to construct a database. What are they going to do? Write down all fields in notebooks and then go back to the office and enter this information into software without some formal QA process? Joke. Epic fail.

    None of this is to claim that the ATF doesn’t want a national gun registry, but that right now, we need to be insightful in how this might be done. For it to occur, FFLs would have to enter all information into searchable fields for them, along with funding the QA program to make it right and reliable.

    EDIT: I guess I should also point out that if the allegation is that they are using form 4473s to construct the database out of boxes sent to Washington, they why add on the allegation that they are sitting in audits writing information into notebooks? The contra converse. If they are using audits to do this, when they don’t need the forms in boxes, so that allegation makes no sense. We need to be clear in what we charge the ATF with so that we don’t look stupid.

  6. On October 11, 2013 at 9:17 am, Heyoka said:

    Herschel Smith:

    You are quite wrong here. With Adobe Pro you can manipulate the information anyway you want it. I suse PDF documents to search all the time. You can acquire PDF version of the Constitution and all the other Founding Docs online that are searchable. I use this feature all the time at work.

    All they have to do is write a subroutine for a program already in existance instead of reinventing the wheel. They search a name and then a simple “If-Then” program line could find the name and the SSN of the individual. If they have your SSN they know exactly who you are.

    Just because the fat cats that sold us down the tubes with Obamacare and then let the contract out to friends and buddies that are stumbling in the dark does not mean a savy computer geek is not capable of coming up with a simple solution with programs already out there that are tried and true.

    I was purchasing a weapon at a gunstore but did not give an SSN. The NICS operator asked to speak to me NFS. She asked me my last 4 and I told her. She promply said yep you are ok we know you,we though you may be this other guy (same name). This is straight up no BS. The store owner and his wife were dumbfounded and said they had never heard of that happening.

    So blow it off if you think tht they are too stupid to figure this out, i know what I know and I heard right out of the mouth of the NICS operator.

  7. On October 11, 2013 at 9:26 am, Herschel Smith said:


    Thanks for the comment. I don’t blow off educated comments.

    I don’t doubt your example one bit, and I think every example we add to the list is valuable. What you’re describing isn’t the same thing as a comprehensive database.

    There are lists upon lists of all kinds of people (I have been searched many times against terrorist watch lists because of the kind of software I run), but this is still not the same thing as a searchable database on every field on the 4473. And a searchable PDF isn’t the same thing as a relational database (like MS Access) that is searchable on specific fields via queries.

    We need to be specific. Are they using scanned forms to build a database, or are they using audits?

  8. On October 11, 2013 at 10:48 am, Heyoka said:

    Just grabed this off another site.

    •2 hours ago△▽


    Was in my local gun shop yesterday, ATF WAS THERE. Shop owner told me they were counting his inventory for 3 days, going through every application setting the ones for AR 15’s & AK’s aside and taking notes on who bought them.

    They are forming a registry people. Understand this.


    Further to you statement, several gunstore owners where I live reported the ATF demanding their entire book of 4473s. Some of them caved some relented. The congress person was notified and of course automatic transmission fluid said they were no creating a database or registry, yep didn’t have a part in Fast and Furious as an ulterior motive until the email showed them lieing.

    As to your comment on what is searchable in an Access database type application I say this. They have the manufactures serial number plans that will tell you the specific item they are interested in, they have your name and then the SSN. It only takes a state by state pdf file, dump it into a super computer, with the pertinent information to tell them the item they are looking for, what you name and number is and with that they can track everything about you, where you are and the last time you used one of you plastic financial cards or accessed your bank account. They can even track where and how much ammunition if you used a check or plastic. Just what do you think they need to know to come put pressure on you or seize you firearms. The simple fact that you have them is right at their finger tips. What else do the need.

  9. On October 11, 2013 at 11:19 am, Herschel Smith said:

    Sigh …

    Listen to me. Stop. Start all over again. Slow down. Be a thinking man, and ponder analytically. The reason that this is an important conversation is that we must know how they think and what the possible success paths are in order to block them. Thus far you are shooting a scatter gun at random noises in the dark while blindfolded. You’re not being specific and detailed.

    Again, I have no problem with pointing out anecdotal evidence of nefarious dealings with the ATF. I have no doubt that this occurs every day. But stop shouting. Again, be specific.

    Tell me one more time HOW they are building this database. Are they using scanned 4473s to do it with a gigantic PDF document? Really? Whey they’re finished, what will they have? An 80 million page PDF document? Really? With incomplete SS numbers, no PC anywhere that could open up such a document?

    If they are using this approach, though, then what is the purpose of auditing FFLs in order to get info from 4473s? What searchable fields are they using, what software, where? How would they combine this with an 80 million page PDF document? How would this be anything but a joke?

    Don’t shoot a scatter gun at noises. BE SPECIFIC. Know what you’re saying. Don’t quote random crap from the interwebz. Think through this in order to really understand their possible success paths so that you can be educated and use that to your advantage.

    Understand my point? You’re in a circular firing squad here rather than trying to understand my much more complicated points.

  10. On October 11, 2013 at 11:44 am, Ike said:

    ATF has used portable scanners to scan 4473 documents, but they also can take digital photographs. Of greater concern is that ATF has taken complete photographic images of the dealer bound book. Do you think they do this for their health? Do you really think they go to that much effort without entering the data into their databases?

    Forget petty concerns about pdf files and software for personal computers. ATF contracts for their own special software to do whatever they want. If you search the internet, you can find ATF solicitations for outside contractors to digitize the dealer out-of-business records. How much was digitized, we may never know – but the contract is out there.

    For more information, go here:

  11. On October 11, 2013 at 12:21 pm, might as well just use a real name, nowadays... said:

    You know, I hate conspiracy theory. That said, if you had told me this time last year that Federal government employees were capable of pulling off the interception and recording of every cell phone call and email in America, I would have called you a paranoid schizophrenic. I would have said, “Those idiots couldn’t get a contract done in 10 years, let alone pull it off themselves.”

    Unfortunately, it’s clear now that, with the proper motivation, even GS-11 drones can pull of some pretty impressive feats of scary fascism.

  12. On October 11, 2013 at 1:35 pm, milquetoast said:

    An 80 million page PDF document? Really?

    Do you think that is how Google Books works – that it is all a giant PDF?

    The 4473 is a standardized form so they can use perl’s imagemagick to easily extract individual fields from the scan and then pipe that into a optical character recognition software and from there pipe the text into a database. OCR isn’t perfect so you could verify the accuracy by comparing the name with social security number, birthdate, driver’s license number or address. If it still has a problem it can be flagged in the database as needing reviewed.

    The ATF spends over a billion dollars a year they probably wouldn’t hesitate to commission customized software.

    This, of course, assumes that the ATF doesn’t already have their data recovery plan include keeping “backups” of every single NCIS transactions with a brand new tape for each day.

  13. On October 11, 2013 at 2:17 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Okay. Very well. And there are laws prohibiting that (which isn’t to say that it doesn’t happen). But the subject has been changed from using audits to using form 4473s already on file. So how is the database being constructed – from 4473s or from audit findings with ATF agents sitting there and writing things into log books?

  14. On October 11, 2013 at 2:47 pm, Kirk Parker said:


    You are missing one point: all PDF’s are not created equal. PDF is just a way to present a widely-recognized viewable/printable document. The searchable PDF’s you are familar with are PDFs rendering TEXT. If, instead, the PDF is a collection of TIFFs or JPEGs that were scanned in, no those are NOT searchable absent some attempt to OCR them. Oops, not OCR, but rather handwriting recognition.

    So no, I’m not worried about that. But neither am I sanguine as Herschel is–such a database does not have to be all that accurate to still be an effective tool for harassment.

  15. On October 11, 2013 at 2:49 pm, Kirk Parker said:

    milquetoast, it’s not OCR it’s HANDWRITING RECOGNITION that’s required; an order of magnitude (or more) less reliable. Seriously, how careful are you to print neatly when filling out a 4473? As long as the guy at the counter can read it, with some prompting from me, that’s good enough for me.

  16. On October 11, 2013 at 3:38 pm, Archer said:

    OK, Kirk Parker knows what he’s saying, but I’m going to weigh in on the PDF issue, too. There’s been some confusion here about “scanning a document into a PDF file” and “text searching/highlighting in a PDF file.” I’m going to try to clear up some misconceptions.

    First, PDFs are created in a variety of ways, by a large variety of devices (scanners, digital cameras, etc.) and software (CreatePDF, MS Word, etc). HOW it gets created is just as important as what it contains. (I’ll get to why in a minute.)

    Second, PDFs can contain all kinds of information, formatted in pretty much any way you can think a computer would format it. Text, images, etc. Hell, a creative hacker can hide an executable bit of malware in a PDF that will run when you open it. It can even be a combination of text, images, and executable macros. ANYTHING can go into a PDF document.

    Therein lies the problem, and the reason why Herschel is saying we need to be realistic about what the ATF is capable of doing. It’s also where the “how” of PDF creation is important.

    Scanners and cameras that save in PDF format are taking an image. The whole PDF is a giant picture. Current technology has a hard time converting images of text – especially handwritten text – into processable, computer-recognizable text. You simply can’t search on these, not without taking a LOT of time and processing power to convert them into computer-readable formats, and then input that processed text into a database (and good luck getting the fields lined up correctly). It is NOT the same – nowhere NEAR the same – as having a PDF document created from a text document (say, an MS Word doc saved as a PDF, or an e-book) that actually is computer-readable text before the PDF conversion.

    The ATF might be scanning 4473s, they might not be. I don’t know, and it’s irrelevant to my argument. If they are scanning them, they’re getting a pile of PDFs created from images. As Herschel says, an 80 million page PDF, made from images. That format can’t be searched automatically.

    Does that make more sense now?

  17. On October 11, 2013 at 3:58 pm, Josh said:

    Everyone just shut up about PDFs, for Pete’s sake.

    Is OCR on handwritten text plausible across tens of millions of pages? Absolutely not. However, handwritten numbers are not at all difficult to programmatically decipher.

    If the ATF is scanning forms, they’re digitizing them – end of story. Once they’re digitized, they can run OCR against the social security numbers quite easily and kick out any error forms for a human to deal with. I could setup this system to run and run well – especially with something as templated as a 4473 – in a matter of weeks, myself.

    The questions is: “are they scanning 4473’s”?

  18. On October 11, 2013 at 4:35 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Notice that none of this has anything to do with building a database by audit. The subject has morphed, which is okay but if I’d thought I was writing an article about building a database by scanning forms I would have written it differently. As for whether the ATF is scanning forms, that’s important and someone should find that out and report back. As for a database created with them — a QA nightmare. Names that don’t match SS #, SS that don’t match names, incomplete info (because you don’t have to give your SS number), names that don’t match address because people have moved, guns that no longer go with the person that bought them because of a person to person sale, incorrect info due to code issues, lack of QA because of human errors, etc. Where I work such a database would be unuseable crap. Would the ATF try to use something like that to harrass people? Of course.

  19. On October 11, 2013 at 11:44 pm, Nosmo said:

    It cannot be scanned 4473, because if they scan them with something like Portable document (PDF), the fields are not searchable.”

    Incorrect. Kofax Ascent Capture – scanning software – has the ability to identify data in a field and OCR / ICR it. This is also true of several other document imaging and image capture software programs. True, the fields on the form have to be created manually, but someone skilled with Ascent Capture should be format the read fields on a 4473 in less than an hour.

    As for PDFs, Kofax (and other software) exports the scanned image as TIFF – Tag Image File Format – which is a high KB raw image file. Since Kofax is a modular product, they offer a PDF module to convert TIFF to PDF.

    Ascent Capture, as well as other image capture products, is very good at extracting data from a scanned image and querying a database with those data elements. This allows verification and purifying the source data as well as adding additional data to the file from other data sources. I built a document imaging system for a court system that did exactly that with traffic citations at 109.5 citations per minute, using a Bell and Howell 8120 scanner at a 300 dpi image setting. There were 72 data fields on the citations, but rarely more than half were completed. The databases queried were a local copy of the state driver license database, the vehicle registration database, and the county’s court case management system that had the past 18 years of court case data (including all traffic citations processed during that period) and an electronic database of every residential telephone number in the state.

    Hand written citations would reject because of the error rate with ICR (Intelligent Character Recognition) on hand written or hand printed citations but the system successfully read 99.3% of machine printed citations. On the rejected citations (placed in the Quality Control queue by Ascent Capture) a clerk would manually enter the last name, DL # and DOB. The automated query function coded into Ascent (custom code we wrote) would use those data elements to query the other databases and return whatever elements were available to automatically complete the data entry task.

  20. On October 12, 2013 at 7:30 am, Dean Weingarten said:

    A database constructed from either 4473 forms or the bound books is not a registry. To be really useful for confiscation purposes, a registry needs several things beyond such a database.

    First, there has to be a prohibition on private sales without government approval. Otherwise, anyone can simply say, when asked to turn in the registered firearm, “I sold it”. That is the primary reason, I believe, for the current push for “Universal Background Checks”.

    Second, there must be a requirement to report all loss or theft of privately owned firearms. Otherwise, the above explanation becomes “I lost it” or “It was stolen”.

    Third, it must be made illegal to own firearms that are not registered. Then any firearms that are found which are *not* on the governments list of those which any individual is permitted to own, become contraband and subject to confiscation.

    Here is an essay that I wrote on the subject “Gun Registration is Gun Confiscation”.

    There are current legal initiatives being pushed to accomplish all of these goals, but they are currently in force in only a few states.

  21. On October 12, 2013 at 8:06 am, Mark Matis said:

    If they want to search, Dean Weingarten, do you think they will be unable to FIND it if you still have it? And what makes you think they WON’T search, regardless of the “law”?

  22. On October 12, 2013 at 9:53 am, Dean Weingarten said:

    It is certainly possible that a full blown dictatorship with complete disreguard for the rule of law will attempt to take control of the United States. It could be plausibly argued that we are well on the way there. It that is the case, though, a registration list of guns is not an impediment. Nearly every gun owner is already on multiple lists that could be used by such a tyranny to search for guns.

    Ever send a comment to a blog like this one? On the list.

    Ever buy a hunting license? On the list.

    Ever subscribe to a firearms related magazine, newsletter, or email list? On the list.

    Ever buy a gun, ammunition, or accessories by credit card? On the list.

    Ever search for gun related items on the Internet? On the list.

    The purpose of a gun registry, such as I have described, is to make such searches legitimate, and to allow gun confiscation to occur in slow motion. Under such a system, the number of people who are allowed to have guns, and the types of guns that they are allowed to have, are gradually reduced so that the number of gun owners who are politically active are decimated to insignificance over the next generation or two. That has been the British model, and it worked there.

    We are not British, however, and we have the Constitution.

  23. On October 12, 2013 at 9:55 am, Dean Weingarten said:

    In the above comment, the phrase “a registration list of guns is not an impediment” was meant to read “lack of a registration list of guns is not an impediment”.

  24. On October 12, 2013 at 5:18 pm, Scott W said:

    This is really kind of a silly ‘argument’.

    The ATF is trying to gather as much information as it can – legally and illegally – about gun owners and at least certain individual guns and gun types that are being purchased. That is clear.

    Can they create a comprehensive database to track every single firearm and owner? Of course not, there are simply too many firearms transactions going back decades that can never be reconstructed.

    But, in concert with the other ‘intelligence’ agencies who’s mission it is now to spy upon the American people they have helped to create a pretty good database of ‘gun-owners’.

    I have little doubt there isn’t a list in the NSA (available to FBI, DHS, etc etc) that is nearly 100% accurate as to whether or not you own a gun (or at least at one time was known to have owned a gun).

    But all that is really immaterial. The fact of the matter it doesn’t matter whether you are on THAT list – what matters is THAT YOU ARE NOT ON THE RIGHT LIST. That ‘right list’ of course is the list of people who (in their eyes) will be allowed to have guns when and if the SHTF.

    So, if it ever comes down to them going door to door, and you haven’t had time to evacuate before they show up at yours, you better have something to give them (I would suggest ones that you did purchase recently, or the last ones, on a 4473). Then after they’ve left you proceed to wherever you have ‘cached’ your back-ups (hopefully multiple locations) and retrieve those. The next encounter with ‘them’ will I assume not be a cordial one.

  25. On October 13, 2013 at 11:16 am, Bill said:

    We are all on a list somewhere. If any government is serious about eliminating guns/firearms as a threat, they will first ask everyone to give up their guns and then they will start the house to house searches. Every house, building, and property. That’s the only way to be sure. I think they will be busy for awhile, what with all the ducking and stuff.

  26. On October 13, 2013 at 1:21 pm, Heyoka said:

    Well obviously my “circular reasoning” cause quite an uproar. PDFs do not have to be a giant file. They can be from gun ship or town or area or whatever level of handeling the authorities deem is efficient to use. I was merely citing the fact that such things are possible with simple off the shelf software. NOSMO even quoted off the shelf software that is utilized for just such an application. If you think the agencies don’t have more sophisticated equipment your are in abject denial. Further if you think the “law” deterrs these folk you are even more lost.

    Hershal I appreciate your work. But refusing to see that there are distinct possibilities and obviously ignoring the fact that these people don’t care about your rights or what the hell the law says is not very prudent. Expect the worse hope for the best. That is why we are armed, to expect the worst. The British had no trouble disregarding the rights of the people, why do think a bunch of Marxist led bureaucrats will.

    Of course I have not constructed a deductively logical argument. I could not quote you a software program that does exactly what I said is possible. In demonstrating that a PDF file could be searched. I did show that my premises were valid and that there was some truth to them. Of course I did not prove their absolute worth with truth tables or Venn or Oiler Diagrams but I did show you that they are collecting records and they are doing this all over the US That there is a possibility of compiling scanned images into a searchable form even with the most rudamentary equipment is apparent. Others here have shown you that your sentiments are not exactly consistent in that there are methods with available software that can do what you question.

    The probability that this is going on can only be compared to the past hsitory of the agency. I will put it this way, woud you put a fox in a hen house and expect it not to eat the chickens????

  27. On October 13, 2013 at 1:23 pm, Heyoka said:

    Oh by the way, Scott W. you are exactly on point

  28. On October 13, 2013 at 6:36 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Good grief.


    “… refusing to see that there are distinct possibilities and obviously ignoring the fact that these people don’t care about your rights or what the hell the law says is not very prudent.”

    Okay. Let’s try this one more time, and after that, whatever. I have said in previous posts, variously, that the federal leviathan and advocates of universal background check evil, wicked, communists, control freaks, bent on evil only and always, agents of satan and servants of the devil. How this translates to a refusal to see that there are “possibilities that people don’t care about my rights” is completely beyond me. Only you know the answer, so I’m secure in the idea that you know what you’re talking about, even if no one else does.

    But I’ll assume that you are not a regular reader and go from there. So let me assist a little in understanding the article, along with any potential articles should you visit my web site again.

    Some of my articles are well researched and intended to be without irony or subterfuge. Some of them are intended to evoke an emotional reaction. Some of them are intended to be for purposes of conversation with my readers, and quite often, readers offer up comments in long discussion threads that makes the article itself poor and the thread the real meat of the post. That’s not only fine by me, it is intended. I do this in part for readers and the comment threads. I find them amusing, educational and insightful.

    To the post above, I have concluded (if you read carefully) that the leviathan wants our guns. They always have. They want our liberties – they always have, ever since the beginning (read R. J. Rushdoony “The One And The Many”). It is silly to assert that audits can be used as a means to build a comprehensive, complete, reasonably error free national gun registry database. Furthermore, they could use form 4473s (and perhaps they have), but it would be extremely inefficient and a disaster in terms of the fidelity of the information.

    On to the other issues. There are certainly lists. I am certainly on some of them, maybe many of them. I assure you I am on them not just because I own guns, but I because I have published prose that calls the federal government servants of satan. Whatever lists I am on, I have been on them longer than you have, and I am on many more of them than you are.

    So what was the point of the post? To get you to think. As I said above, you need to think critically and analytically in order to understand the “success paths” that OPFOR might take to building such lists. It’s not important that you emote and go ballistic over comment threads. It’s important that you think and understand and come to your own conclusions as to what actions you might take to thwart those success paths.

    The original post that I linked asserted that audits were being used to build a database. My post was intended to make you think more critically than that – to understand what they can and cannot do by use of various tools, all the while educated by commenters on the subject.

    Now, you may conclude that you just want to react and yell. That’s fine. You may conclude that you’re never going to visit this dumb ass web site again. That’s also a viable and acceptable reaction. But if you have been forced to think in the least on this issue, then mission accomplished.

    “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

    Does that help?

  29. On October 13, 2013 at 10:00 pm, Bob Ballard said:

    Was talking to the owner of my favorite LGS/FFL yesterday. He’s in the middle of a very detailed audit by tne ATF here in Houston. He didn’t give me much detailed info but certainly was not pleased with the questioning. Thanks, Bob

  30. On October 14, 2013 at 12:18 pm, Hank said:

    They do not need to have the capability to dump it all into a monster database right now. They are collecting the data right now. They don’t need to read every field, but can automatically OCR (albeit not optically, and not printed characters, but handwritten) some of it now and save the rest for later.

    They do not need to build the entire database from a single source. Maybe they use 4473s and other sources? Sure, maybe they have some dupes to weed out (or not).

    Like the blind men and the elephant, we’ve all seen parts and pieces of this. I’ve been in the LGS when they called back after a customer had left with a gun, and they had lists of 4473s the customer had filled out from this store, and wanted to know the disposition (had he completed the purchase). The store owner told them he couldn’t find those forms quickly, but the voice on the phone gave him the (several) dates to help. I wasn’t on the phone, I don’t know if it was NICS or ATF or who, but I know what happened both from overhearing the initiated search and from speaking w/the owner on a subsequent visit.

    Finally, is the fact that they are incompetent, and will mess this up to some extend necessarily to our advantage? How many guys have been burned by ATF mistakes on machine gun registry info? Did all of those work out to the citizen’s advantage?

  31. On October 15, 2013 at 5:19 pm, Jim said:

    Given the coding debacle that is Obamacare, whatever list the ATF does have is severely lacking and full of holes, as it pertains to who owns what. What such a list would be good for though is to identify potential firearm owners. That’s all they really need. However, you shouldn’t lose too much sleep over it.

    To give you a sight of the big picture, last year, in Wisconsin alone, the DNR sold approximately 700k individual gun season deer licenses. Do you know how many total active troops there are in all of the branches of the military? Approximately 1.4 million (and that’s all troops, support and all, not just front line soldiers). Do you know how many police officers there are in the U.S.? Approximately 800k. So all in all, there are approximately 2.2 million people that a would be tyrant would have at his or her disposal to execute such orders. If all their people (a big assumption) had a go at all of the deer hunters in Wisconsin, they would win, but there would be hell to pay.

    There are supposedly 80 million firearm owners in this country. Each year, there are approximately 20 million individual gun season hunting licenses sold across the U.S. They can build all the lists they want, they just don’t have enough bodies to go forth and execute that confiscation order. Stay the course. These tyrants will falter under their own weight.

  32. On January 16, 2015 at 11:49 pm, John E said:

    I’m not really buying that one, either. I’ve run a gun store for 6 years now (and we have 2 other stores), and not once has a NICS examiner asked to speak with a customer.

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You are currently reading "Does De Facto Gun Registration Exist In The U.S.?", entry #11375 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) BATFE and was published October 10th, 2013 by Herschel Smith.

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