Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Elise Stefanik joined her colleagues in sending a letter to the Acting Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) requesting the total number of records on file in all ATF databases following concern that the Biden Administration is circumventing federal law to keep records on gun owners.
“The Biden Administration’s failed policies have created a crime crisis in this country, yet Joe Biden is more concerned with tracking law-abiding gun owners than supporting law and order in our cities,” Stefanik said. “I’m proud to join this push for answers on behalf of gun owners in America and across the North Country.”
Stefanik joined her colleagues in writing a letter in November expressing concern that a proposed rule to require federal firearm licensees (FFLs) to preserve firearms transaction records would allow ATF to have records on almost every American gun owner, creating a national gun registry, which is prohibited by law. In the ATF’s response, the lawmakers learned that the ATF has 865 million firearms transaction records on file within the Out-of-Business Records Imaging System (OBRIS), only one of sixteen ATF-managed databases.
“Current regulations authorizing FFLs to discard records after 20 years were first published in 1985 and have not been changed in the nearly four decades since then. This regulation was enacted to ensure that the federal government complied with existing law restricting the creation of a federal gun registry. It is therefore concerning that the Administration would seek to repeal a decades-old rule without citing any research or data justifying the need for retaining firearm transaction records in perpetuity. Indeed, the only basis for the proposed rulemaking is that firearms are durable and can be operational and in circulation for more than 20 years. Durability, though, always has been a characteristic of firearms,” the lawmakers wrote.
“We would urge that you consider rescinding the proposed regulation that would require FFLs to preserve firearm records older than 20 years. Indeed, the evidence provided by ATF thus far demonstrates that such records likely have little utility in prosecuting crime, yet raise serious concerns about whether ATF is creating a prohibited national gun registry,” the lawmakers concluded.
Read the full letter here.