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Report: Biden admin stockpiling millions of records on US gun owners; some fear it could be the precursor to a federal database
Sergio Flores/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Report: Biden admin stockpiling millions of records on US gun owners; some fear it could be the precursor to a federal database

The Biden administration is quickly amassing millions of records on U.S. gun owners in what some gun-rights advocates fear could be the precursor to a federal registry, the Washington Free Beacon reported over the weekend.

According to an internal document obtained by the news outlet, under President Biden's direction, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has collected more than 54 million out-of-business records detailing gun transactions and other private firearm information in the past year alone.

Since 1968, U.S. law has required licensed firearms retailers that go out of business to transfer their private records detailing gun transactions to the ATF's National Tracing Center Division repository in West Virginia — a site that stores so many paper records that a floor recently collapsed under the weight.

This data-collecting practice is touted as a crime-stopping tool that has assisted law enforcement agencies in countless criminal investigations. But many gun-rights advocates are concerned that the practice will ultimately be abused by the Biden administration given the president's enthusiastic support for widespread gun reform.

Specifically, the advocates fear that the information will be used to create a national database of all gun owners, something that is strictly prohibited under the Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986 but has long been floated by anti-gun groups.

Currently, gun retailers are not required to keep records beyond a 20-year period. But the Federalist reported that the administration and its anti-gun partners "want to change that and are largely in favor of heavier federal oversight that mandates a digitized registry that can be searched."

If such an action were taken, it would enable federal authorities to undermine the Second Amendment rights of millions of Americans.

"If a national database is created," the Federalist warned, "thousands of gun owners could be sought out by the administration to 'register or destroy' any firearms or related equipment that the Democrat administration seeks to restrict or even ban."

But the Biden administration insists that the creation of a digital federal registry is not in its plans despite the concerns of gun-rights advocates.

In response to the Free Beacon's request for comment, an ATF spokesman confirmed the agency's "National Tracing Center processes millions of out of business records each month" but said that "those out of business records do not constitute an initiation or continuation of any federal gun registry."

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