Progressive Democrats who seized control of the White House in 2021 are now using a new technique to compile reams of data on gun purchases by Americans, according to internal Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
In fiscal year 2021 the ATF has already processed 54.7 million out-of-business records, according to ATF documents acquired by the firearms advocacy group Gun Owners of America, reports the Free Beacon.
Out-of-business records are created when a licensed gun shop goes out of business, and its private records of gun transactions become ATF property and are stored at a federal site in West Virginia. Gun advocacy groups are sounding the alarm that the government is using these records to create a national database of gun owners, long prohibited under U.S. law.
According to an internal document describing ATF actions in fiscal year 2021 alone, the ATF obtained 53.8 million paper records and another 887,000 electronic records. Gun activists say this suggests strongly that the Biden administration is trying, in violation of federal statutes, to single out Americans who own firearms for surveillance.
The administration is also moving to change current laws and let gun records be kept permanently. Gun sellers currently can destroy their records after 20 years.
“Instead of maintaining the right of [licensed firearm dealers] to destroy Firearm Transaction Records after 20 years,” said Aidan Johnston, Gun Owners of America’s director of federal affairs, “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 ATF’s registry site has long been a battleground between gun advocates and the federal government.
An ATF spokesman declined to comment on internal agency records but told the Free Beacon that the agency’s “National Tracing Center processes millions of out of business records each month.” However, “those out of business records do not constitute an initiation or continuation of any federal gun registry,” the spokesman said.