Recently, an internal ATF document was released showing some very interesting statistics. The most significant statistic is that in 2021, the ATF processed 54.7 million Out-of-Business records. The records they are referring to, of course, is Form 4473.
The 4473 is the physical form that records the firearm information; make, model, serial number, type, caliber, and information for those unfamiliar with firearm paperwork. It essentially ties a name to the firearm as it was transferred to an individual from a licensed dealer, sometimes referred to as an FFL.
The 4473 also has personal information on it. It has name, birthdate, current address, birthplace, height, weight, and driver’s license number. Some even opt to give their social security number so that their NICS check goes faster. Speaking of NICS checks, let us clear up another misconception. The firearm information does not get entered during the NICS check. No system associates specific firearms with individuals… yet.
For those familiar with ATF paperwork, a pattern might be forming. We had our first taste of it back in November of 2020. Of course, the hyperbolic media was more focused at the time on the fact that the ATF added a gender box for “non-binary” but completely ignored the fact that all the pertinent information had been consolidated to the first page of the form.
For those unfamiliar, before November of 2020, page one of the 4473 form asked for personal information but no information on the firearm associated. Prior to 2020, the firearm information was located on page 3. Why would the ATF move the firearm information and the personal information onto the same page?
To a person, the answer is obvious—data collection. There is absolutely no way the ATF is not preparing for the eventual digitization of their systems and then a fight for a searchable database that they are prohibited by law from having. Furthermore, if one is familiar with how the Federal Government operates, the moves they make now are setting up the push five or even ten years down the road.
This step towards tyranny is why gun owners must stay vigilant. When your personal friends that own firearms tell you that they “do not see an issue with universal background checks,” let them know that legitimate gun violence is not stopped by overregulation and government control.
What makes the problem even more egregious is that in 2021, Joe Biden directed the ATF to make a few more regulations to current firearms law. One of those regulations is that FFLs (Firearms Dealers) cannot ever destroy the 4473 Forms that they keep on-site. Current law says that after 20 years, the records can be destroyed.
If this regulation goes through, the Biden administration will have just set the first chess piece in a very, very long game of death by attrition. If gun shops close or go out of business, they will be required to turn over every 4473 ever filled out at their shop.