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GOP looks to stop government from asking ethnicity of gun buyers

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 15: U.S. Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) testifies during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee July 15, 2014 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The hearing was to examine 'S.1696, The Women's Health Protection Act: Removing Barriers to Constitutionally Protected Reproductive Rights.' Alex Wong/Getty Images

Two House Republicans are trying to stop the Obama administration from collecting information about the race or ethnicity of people who buy guns.

According to a report from the Washington Times, the ATF is requiring people to fill out a form when buying a gun that asks purchasers whether they are Hispanic or Latino, and then to identify themselves as being Indian, Asian, black, Pacific Islander or white.

Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) has proposed a bill that would stop the government from asking about the ethnicity of people who buy guns. Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Times said this information must be provided to gun retailers at the time a firearm is bought, in order to make the purchase legal. But the requirement is not permitted by federal law, and the new GOP bill would prevent the government from requiring and collecting this information.

"This requirement by the ATF is highly intrusive and unnecessary," said Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), one of the sponsors of the bill. "Failing to adhere to this requirement by not checking all of the correct boxes on the 4473 Form is considered an ATF violation that can be so severe as to result in the gun dealer being shut down for having incomplete purchaser forms."

"Washington bureaucrats have no business requiring citizens who are lawfully purchasing firearms to disclose their race or ethnicity," said Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), the other sponsor. "This is an intrusive and unnecessary requirement. As long as the gun is purchased lawfully, race or ethnicity should be irrelevant."

Their bill states simply: "The federal government may not require any person to disclose the race or ethnicity of the person in connection with the transfer of a firearm to the person."

The legislation is called the Freedom From Intrusive Regulatory Enforcement of Arbitrary Registration Mandates Act, or the FIREARM Act.

Black and Poe proposed their bill on Thursday, the same day that several House Democrats introduced their own gun legislation that would require homemade firearms to have serial numbers. That bill was introduced by Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), and is cosponsored by nine other Democrats.

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