Are my guns really registered, or just me?


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moredes
July 30, 2005, 06:08 PM
I bought a gun through a private internet sale and filled out the usual paperwork for it at the store. My FFL holder says just in passing, "ya know, there's no record that this gun ever changed hands unless they come check here".

Huh??

My FFL says the only information given is that my ID has been confirmed and that I bought a handgun. Not what kind of handgun nor where it came from.

My questions are:

1) Is there anyplace aside from the "bound book" that lists the gun I just bought?

2) Does the seller's FFL know who it was sold to, or does he just have a listing of my FFL dealer?

3) If the gun isn't being tracked, what's the point? All BATF has is my identity, and the fact that now, I might have one more gun than I did the day before....but they don't know that for fact because they're not tracking what guns I've traded off, right?? I mean, only the FFL dealers that I've used, actually know what guns I've traded off; the BATF doesn't have a clue?? In my state, I've been told I can trade with another resident without paperwork; surely not a wise move, but since it's (supposedly) possible, how can the BATF possibly track my handguns?

I'm about as befuddled as I could hope to be.

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lee n. field
July 30, 2005, 06:18 PM
You live in a civilized state.

No records beyond the dealers book. When he goes out of business ATF gets them.

Justin
July 30, 2005, 06:54 PM
If you paid with a credit card, then there is a record of the purchase with the CC company.

But the feds are prohibited by law from creating a direct registration scheme.

CAnnoneer
July 30, 2005, 07:38 PM
So, if I buy a gun and it gets stolen then recovered by the PD, how will the PD track it back to return it to me?

Alex45ACP
July 30, 2005, 08:01 PM
So, if I buy a gun and it gets stolen then recovered by the PD, how will the PD track it back to return it to me?

Give them the serial number I guess.

I think NICS is nothing more than a backdoor registration.

CAnnoneer
July 30, 2005, 08:05 PM
Then there must be a nation-wide system keeping track of stolen firearms descriptions and serial numbers?

Justin
July 30, 2005, 08:26 PM
If the cops recover the gun at the scene of a crime, they'll contact BATFE with the make and serial number. From there they'll contact the manufacturer, who will know which FFL they sent the gun to. Basically it just becomes a matter of following the paper trail.

Then there must be a nation-wide system keeping track of stolen firearms descriptions and serial numbers? The manufacturer will have a record of which gun dealers they sold firearms to.

chopinbloc
July 30, 2005, 09:11 PM
i thought dealers were supposed to destroy the yellow forms after a period of time.

Standing Wolf
July 30, 2005, 10:22 PM
...the feds are prohibited by law from creating a direct registration scheme.

Yeah, and felons are prohibited by law from having guns, too.

i thought dealers were supposed to destroy the yellow forms after a period of time.

Dealers are permitted to destroy 4473s after twenty years. Heaven only knows how many actually do.

SouthpawShootr
July 30, 2005, 10:28 PM
I remember an FFL friend of mine telling me that if the FFL turns in his license, the yellow forms are sent to the ATF where they are supposedly warehoused (yeah, I bet - probably entered into a computer database somewhere). If they are compiling a database from turned in paperwork, I've probably got a few that they know about.

waterhouse
July 30, 2005, 10:44 PM
I'm an FFL. Your name and address appear in both the bound book and on form 4473, right next to the make, model, caliber, and serial number of the firearm you purchased.

The purpose is NOT to track your handguns or any of your firearm purchases. At least for now, they aren't trying to make a gun registry. As has been mentioned, the purpose of the records is so that if a gun is found at a crime they contact Glock (or whoever) and ask where that gun was originally sent to. Then they call that dealer and ask who he sold it to, and so on down the line.

As far as NICS checks, not only do they not know what kind of gun you bought, but it is illegal for them to keep a record of your purchase. The NICS hard drive is wiped clean of every "Proceed" order within 24 hours (at least according to law and the ATF. Whether the gov't follows the law is up for debate, depending on which way your tin foil hat sits on your head.)

It is true that when I shut down the business I will have to send the ATF all of my 4473s that are less than 20 years old along with my bound book. What they do with them I'm not sure, but if someone is typing them into a database I'd hate to be that guy.

Flyboy
July 30, 2005, 10:56 PM
Whether the gov't follows the law is up for debate, depending on which way your tin foil hat sits on your head.)
Call me a paranoid whackjob, but if memory serves, the law has always been that the records were to be destroyed, but that the ATF under Clinton completely disregarded that law. Given its well-known and oft-publicized history of such blatant disregard for the law, I don't think it's to tinfoi-hattish to believe that F-troop is at it again.

If the three-strikes laws were applied to government, all of THR combined wouldn't have enough guns or ammo to supply the necessary firing squad.

moredes
July 31, 2005, 10:14 AM
Thank you, Waterhouse.

For a while there, I thought CAnnoneer's thread hijack was complete. :rolleyes:

Marshall
July 31, 2005, 10:21 AM
The NICS hard drive is wiped clean of every "Proceed" order within 24 hours

Then my question would be, when buying another firearm, how do they know you have just bought a gun 3 days ago, 2 weeks or 1 month ago?

Kurush
July 31, 2005, 10:38 AM
As far as NICS checks, not only do they not know what kind of gun you bought, but it is illegal for them to keep a record of your purchase.They already admitted to keeping a list of "terrorist watch list" people who did a NICS check. Is there actually a penalty for keeping a record or is it just a statutory suggestion?

waterhouse
July 31, 2005, 10:46 AM
Then my question would be, when buying another firearm, how do they know you have just bought a gun 3 days ago, 2 weeks or 1 month ago?

On a Federal level I don't think that they do know. If you buy 2 handguns FROM ME in a 5 day period it is my responsibility as an FFL to have a record of this and to report that 2 handguns were purchased in a 5 day period. (As an ammendment to my previous post, here is a third place your name and address appear next to the make, model, serial number, and caliber: if you buy two handguns in a 5 day period, I have to send paperwork which states this to both the ATF and the local CLEO. Again, I'm not sure what they do with this information.)

If you buy one from me, and tomorrow you buy another handgun from another dealer in Austin, neither of us knows what you did so there is no paperwork.

This is how it works on the federal level. If you live in a state that keeps records of your purchases because you are only allowed to buy one gun a month or something, that has nothing to do with the ATF, but with your state firearms laws.

waterhouse
July 31, 2005, 10:54 AM
They already admitted to keeping a list of "terrorist watch list" people who did a NICS check. Is there actually a penalty for keeping a record or is it just a statutory suggestion?

They are only required to delete the "proceed" listings. I don't know much about terrorist watch lists, but if this leads to being denied the purchase then they can keep the records.

I don't know about the penalties for keeping a record either, only that the ATF announced that "the courts" had decided that it was illegal to keep personal records, so they deleted the previous days checks every morning.

Alex45ACP
July 31, 2005, 04:34 PM
As far as NICS checks, not only do they not know what kind of gun you bought, but it is illegal for them to keep a record of your purchase. The NICS hard drive is wiped clean of every "Proceed" order within 24 hours (at least according to law and the ATF. Whether the gov't follows the law is up for debate, depending on which way your tin foil hat sits on your head.)

I don't buy it, and there's nothing "tin foil hat" about it. It's been demonstrated over and over and over again that governments can not be trusted with that information.

Marshall
July 31, 2005, 06:19 PM
I'm willing to bet, figurately speaking, that some agency has me on record for the last 5 guns I bought, (I just picked a number),whether it be the FBI, ATF, etc. :scrutiny:

waterhouse
July 31, 2005, 07:04 PM
I don't buy it, and there's nothing "tin foil hat" about it. It's been demonstrated over and over and over again that governments can not be trusted with that information.

All I can say for sure is that the FBI, ATF, etc. do not know which gun you purchase when you purchase a gun. They don't know the make or model or serial number or anything.

It is possible that they are breaking the law and keeping a record of the fact that you bought a gun, but there isn't even a place on the NICS check to enter what gun you purchased. There is only a checkbox for handgun, long gun, or both. In fact, thre isn't even a way to report if you buy multiple long guns. If you came in and bought 20 shotguns, the gov't would see one NICS transaction and I would check "long gun."

Justin
July 31, 2005, 07:32 PM
It certainly wouldn't surprise me if the .gov were keeping NICS checks on record, but so far no information pointing to that has been released publically. Without proof, we're left only with speculation.

*shrugs shoulders*

I think a much more obvious attempt at grabbing records was made in the 1990's during the Clinton Administration's push to drive FFL's out of business by making the requirements for getting and renewing an FFL much more stringent.

beerslurpy
July 31, 2005, 07:46 PM
Bush hasnt exactly relaxed the FFL requirements, or has he?

Justin
July 31, 2005, 07:51 PM
Not so far as I know.

But by making the requirements more stringent, more than half of all FFL dealers were driven out of business, iirc.

BostonGeorge
July 31, 2005, 08:02 PM
It certainly wouldn't surprise me if the .gov were keeping NICS checks on record, but so far no information pointing to that has been released publically. Without proof, we're left only with speculation.

You guys consistently amaze me, haven't you ever heard of the magical system of checks and balances?!?! I don't have the specifics but I've heard it involves the North Pole. BTW you didn't hear that from me.

beerslurpy
July 31, 2005, 08:18 PM
I remember in the 80s there were a whole bunch of FFLs who had them mostly for the purpose of being able to receive guns through the mail (collectors and the like). It doesnt help that FFLs are really expensive now, plus the storefront requirements, etc.

Someone from 40 years ago would be offended at what qualifies as "pro gun" in a politician today, not to mention what qualifies as "reasonable gun control".

Marshall
July 31, 2005, 08:54 PM
The last few times I bought, I remember when calling me in they asked for the serial number of the gun, what type (handgun, shotgun, rifle, etc.) and whether it was a new sale or reclaim out of hock. So, obviously they are able to know more than the fact that I am trying to buy just any gun. Wassup widat?

Alex45ACP
August 1, 2005, 06:32 AM
There is only a checkbox for handgun, long gun, or both. In fact, thre isn't even a way to report if you buy multiple long guns. If you came in and bought 20 shotguns, the gov't would see one NICS transaction and I would check "long gun."

Are you sure? When I had a rifle sent to an FFL the woman was checking if it was a parts gun, if it had a pistol grip, etc. She also told me they've been using an updated form since 9/11.

waterhouse
August 1, 2005, 08:55 AM
I'm positive. Unless she was talking about a special State form I'm not sure what she was talking about. As far as form 4473 goes, I just ordered a new stack which arrived last week. On form 4473 there is a place for the make, model, serial number, etc. but there is no place to write in or a checkbox or anything concerning pistol grips, regular capacity magazines, "assault weapons" etc. Next time you buy a gun feel free to turn the yellow form over and look at exactly what information is contained.

The NICS check contains much less information than form 4473. I can run the entire NICS check with just your driver's license and the knowledge of whether you are buying a handgun, long gun, or both.

Here are the required items for a NICS check:

Last name
First name
Sex
date of birth
Race
State of Residence
Country of Residence
Checkbox: __Handgun __Long gun __Both

There are boxes on the online NICS check for social security number, height, weight, and middle name, but they are all optional and not required. I never input them in order to save time.

There are NOT boxes for the make, model, serial number, or caliber of gun. The only identifying feature of the gun on the NICS check is Type, and all long guns are just long guns, even the "evil" ones with pistol grips and 30 rounds mags.

Again, please understand that I am talking only about the federal level. It is entirely possible that your state has some extra laws that require FFLs to keep records of pistol grips and other "assault" features, but there is no place in the bound book, on form 4473, or on the NICS check to state that a gun has any scary features, and there is no place on the NICS check to state anything about the gun other than handgun or long gun.

Carlos
August 1, 2005, 10:54 PM
There are NOT boxes for the make, model, serial number, or caliber of gun. The only identifying feature of the gun on the NICS check is Type, and all long guns are just long guns, even the "evil" ones with pistol grips and 30 rounds mags.

I've personally had two gun transactions where the FFL was whispering in what make, model, serial number.

Might not be on your form, but it appears it's on theirs.

They got a database (under construction).

F4GIB
August 2, 2005, 12:44 AM
It is true that when I shut down the business I will have to send the ATF all of my 4473s that are less than 20 years old along with my bound book. What they do with them I'm not sure, but if someone is typing them into a database I'd hate to be that guy.

This is exactly what ATF did in the early 1980's (Reagan era) to their warehouses full of out-of-business records and they continue to do so today.

They have a HUGH database in West Virginia of every 4473 or bound book entry they can lay their hands on. According to ATF, it contains only the make, model, serial number and a document identifier. From the document identifier they can find the 4473 or bound book entry on microfilm and learn the buyer's (dealer records) or owner's (gunsmith records) name and address. If a gun has changed hands through a dealer, they get all sale records and if it has ever been repaired, they get all repair records so they can find the latest transaction.

Doing this allows them to trace by the gun but not by the owner (directly) so ATF believes that it does not violate the "registration" prohibition that NRA gets the Congress to reenact every year as part of ATF's appropriation bill. Apparently, NRA thinks this is OK because they have never challenged it.

FWIW, ATF is often worse on gun owners during Republican administrations than Democratic. For example, the Reagan-era 4473 database, the Bush I import ban on military-style firearms, and the Bush II import ban on military-style barrels (ATF's recent reinterpretation of the law).

Big Bad Wolf
August 2, 2005, 03:11 AM
The fact the FFL has to pass along the serial number, make, model and caliber of the firearm scares the hell out of me regardless if the NICS really wipes these "Proceed" records out or not.

If there is truly no federal registration why does the NICS need this at all since it is just an eligibility check? All they should need is the info on the buyer and perhaps if it is a handgun or long gun. The fact this is required info for the FFL to pass along during the background check is by it's very nature linking the specific gun to the buyer, or in simple terms a registration.

If they are worried about mistaken "Proceed" transfers they might approve then as pointed out above all they need do is follow the paper trail (i.e. call transfer dealer and get the info from them directly.

waterhouse
August 2, 2005, 09:39 AM
I've personally had two gun transactions where the FFL was whispering in what make, model, serial number. Might not be on your form, but it appears it's on theirs.

Perhaps I didn't make myself clear in the above post. I never speak to anyone at NICS. I used to, and when I used to call they never once asked me for the make and model or any other identifying features.

Now I fill out an online form and hit submit. The only information on this form is the information I listed above. I can promise you that, at least for the NICS checks I make, there is not one shred of information on their form that that I didn't put there, and since it is impossible to enter any information about the gun other than handgun or long gun I can't put any gun identifying information there even if I wanted to. So it most certainly does not appear on their form.

When I shut down my business or if they come knock on my door for an inspection they will have access to all of this information, but I promise that the ATF has no idea which guns I have sold to which people based on my NICS checks.

If it concerns you that the data all ends up in West Virginia after the business shuts down, this is a legitimate concern. If you are concerned that NICS is creating a database, this is not a legitimate concern. They might start doing it in the future, but they sure aren't doing it now.

waterhouse
August 2, 2005, 09:47 AM
The fact the FFL has to pass along the serial number, make, model and caliber of the firearm scares the hell out of me regardless if the NICS really wipes these "Proceed" records out or not.

Again, I can promise that it is not a fact that the FFL has to pass along this information. I do several NICS trasnactions every day and I've never once passed this information along.

Alex45ACP
August 2, 2005, 09:54 AM
Interesting, thanks Waterhouse.

Ed
August 2, 2005, 10:04 AM
In Arkansas with a CCL you skip the NICS. Just fill out the paper.

RoyG
August 2, 2005, 10:34 AM
In NC with a CHP no phone call is made. Yes the information is still on the 4473. But that's it.

rritter
August 2, 2005, 06:11 PM
I notice the person who says that serial number, etc. are phoned in is from Oregon. I seem to recall that some states use their state police for a criminal check, and don't have to use NICS. Could it be that Oregon is one of those states, and thus the requirements are different? I'm pretty sure that NICS is not a universal requirement, and some states have equivalent non-Federal methods of checking for criminal history before selling a gun. Such methods could well include additional information not required by NICS.

scout26
August 2, 2005, 07:48 PM
Here in the People's Democratic Republic of Corruption (formerly known as Illinois), not only are you registered with the State Police (FOID Card), but also all your firearm purchases are maintained by the State Police in a big illegal database. :cuss: :cuss: :cuss:

Yep, I LOVE BIG BLAGO !!!!!! :barf:

Joey2
August 3, 2005, 12:19 AM
In the movie "Red Dawn" the Cuban officer told his minion to go to the court house and get the "form 4473's".

When you purchase a gun through "paper trail" you become the custodian of your purchase. "THEY' know who you are and where you live.

SouthpawShootr
August 3, 2005, 10:31 AM
In the movie "Red Dawn" the Cuban officer told his minion to go to the court house and get the "form 4473's".

Fine by me. They'd be looking in the wrong place. Amazing that the people making the film let that one slip through. They knew about the 4473s, but didn't know the how or where they are maintained.

Your point is well taken though. Private sales are about the best way to buy. You keep your head down and don't do anything illegal with it, chances are nobody will ever know you have it. Most private sellers don't even bother to record the name and address of the person buying the gun. I'll wager a significant number don't even bother to check and see if the purchaser is a resident.

oswulf
August 3, 2005, 04:12 PM
Waterhouse is correct. I'm also an FFL holder and call in directly to NICS, they've never once asked me for any more information about the gun than whether it's a long gun or a handgun. Oregon on the other hand does it's background checks through a state agency, not NICS, (I'm right on the Oregon/Idaho Border, The free side that is). Oregon does require more information than I have to give in Idaho, but this info is state level only, the FBI and NICS do not get this extra info.

Some states don't go directly through NICS they go through a state agency with it's own peculiarities. These states might deny you for reasons that wouldn,t cause a hickup at the federal level, and they can keep whatever records the state legislature lets them. If you live in one of these states I feel sorry for you.

Oswulf

Henry Bowman
August 3, 2005, 04:35 PM
In the movie "Red Dawn" the Cuban officer told his minion to go to the court house and get the "form 4473's". I thought he said to go to the "hardware store." :confused: Haven't seen the movie in a while, though.

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