"Big Brother" question about buying guns


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Anna's Dad
March 1, 2009, 07:35 PM
For years I've preferred buying guns from private individuals. Not only is it simpler (no paperwork except maybe a bill of sale), cheaper (no transfer fees or taxes and no shipping fees when done locally) but I always felt like it was done without the eyes of Big Brother watching. I have to say the latter was one of the most attractive aspects of the face-to-face purchase.

Now I'm wondering if that concern was justified at all. I recently read an article which indicated that the Brady Campaign was trying to have NICS records retained indefinitely. I had just assumed this was always the case!

I looked into a little further and it sounds like records are maintained for 60 days. Not very long at all really.

Combine this with the fact that law enforcement isn't allowed to maintain records of firearms purchases (at least in my state) and it seems like an "on the record" purchase isn't really visible to the government at all.

One thing I'm not sure about is how long dealers are required to maintain records of firearms purchases. I'm guessing this probably varies from state-to-state as well, but there are probably federal requirements as well. If anyone has info on this, I'd appreciate it.

Of course then I got to thinking that many dealers, particularly larger ones, probably maintain computerized records of purchases well beyond federal or state requirements for marketing reasons. Just the existence of these records would allow the government access to that information should laws change in the future (which certainly seems possible given current makeup of the legislative, executive and to some extent, even the judicial branches).

What do you all think about this? Appreciate any opinions but please disclose whether or not you're wearing a tinfoil hat while replying!

Regards...

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testosterone
March 1, 2009, 08:40 PM
In connecticut, the dealer needs to maintain paperwork for 20 years, at least thats what my local guy tells me.

The state gets copies of everything,I don't know what there retention policy is, no doubt it is digitized and kept for eternity+1.

At a federal level, I don't think the fed tracks anything, except the bound book at the dealers which record everything in and out.

I believe that the bound book is the only record the ATF has, there is no database they can look into to see what you have, pretty sure that is against the law actually.

Great questions, not sure what the real truth is, no doubt someone will answer.

armedandsafe
March 1, 2009, 08:42 PM
The FFL has to keep his paperwork with all of the pertinent information for 20 years and turn in to BATFE what is left when he drops his license. Thus, there is a relatively "permanent" record.

That 20 years is a rather recent change in the rules, I understand.

Pops

fastlanedude
March 1, 2009, 08:43 PM
I also am wondering about who is looking at the records of sale and how long they are held. I have sold a couple of weapons in the last 10 years to individuals. I originally bought them at a gun dealer. I bought 3 guns in the last year and wondered...If TSHTF, and guns were outlawed, (obviously unconstitutional and would likely result in the 2nd revolution) would the government have records to come door to door looking for the guns we bought?

leadcounsel
March 1, 2009, 08:57 PM
60 days, 20 years, 3 years, 3 days...

I think you'd be naive to think that every gun you buy "on the grid" isn't forever recorded and linked to you...

I also try to buy off the grid, but do like to support the gun industry by buying new now and again...

Anna's Dad
March 1, 2009, 08:59 PM
Really the whole motivator of my question was the thought of someone knocking on my door asking for the guns I had bought should guns be banned.

I certainly hope that it never will, but I do believe it could happen in my lifetime. I don't want to be one of those people burying guns and ammo in the backyard, but it's a little scary.

Of course a confiscation would be very much complicated by the fact that I could have sold them all privately (and have, in fact, sold many that way) and there would be no record.

Still, that 20 years retention is a bit on the alarming side!

Thanks for the feedback.

rbernie
March 1, 2009, 09:01 PM
And then there's Delaware, the state that was recently caught warehousing gun purchase data...

http://www.nraila.org/News/Read/InTheNews.aspx?ID=11737

Javelin
March 1, 2009, 09:12 PM
And then there's Delaware, the state that was recently caught warehousing gun purchase data...

http://www.nraila.org/News/Read/InTheNews.aspx?ID=11737


This raises a good point. There are no laws really being followed to not collect the data of gun purchases. If I was not a black gun collector I would definitely be looking for FTF purchases but unfortunately all of mine are registered.

Let me say that again (for the record)... LOL

Officers'Wife
March 1, 2009, 09:15 PM
I've heard that records are only kept 60 days. President Clinton assured the American public no permanent records would be kept. He also told the American people he did not have sex with that woman. Your call.

Selena

Larry Ashcraft
March 1, 2009, 09:31 PM
That 20 years is a rather recent change in the rules, I understand.
Nope. It was on the books at least 25 years ago.

FFL rules are Federal, as in Federal Firearms License.

SyberShooter
March 1, 2009, 09:43 PM
They may say that they only keep the records for 60 days but remember - they are also required to back up their computer data nightly and data is put on archive tape weekly for long term backup and recovery purposes (required by law and policy) Depending on the classification of the data, it has a minimum period that they have to maintain it. So the working data may roll off in 60 days but the backup archives might last a long time.
Also the agents can go into a dealer and copy their records 'looking for blah blah'. Also the dealers records have to be tuned over when they go out of business. So I wouln't count on the info not being there when they want it.

keep buying FTF

Ohio Gun Guy
March 1, 2009, 10:22 PM
I believe there have been posts about this and someone can post a link to a news article that is an example of the information being retained much longer.

I have had some limited experience with the legal field (Not a layer, but I slept at holiday inn last night:rolleyes:), and a judge can order things preserved, files opened or sealed, etc. If they know about them, they will have them.

:scrutiny:Count me as one that is skeptical that those records go away. Maybe the back-up copy is filed, or a digital copy exists, etc, etc. (I don't trust them!:scrutiny:)

misANTHrope
March 1, 2009, 10:27 PM
Keep in mind that NICS transactions do not include any data specific to your purchase. NICS does not gather information about your purchase, only about you, save for asking if a transaction is for a handgun or long gun.

So even if they kept those background check records indefinitely, there really wouldn't be much in the way of useful information. The only way to get purchase information including make, model, serial #, etc. is to go to the selling dealer and dig through tons of paperwork looking for your stuff.

The information is out there pretty much indefinitely, but it is by no means efficient to get that information.

rbernie
March 2, 2009, 12:05 AM
Found the link to the discussion here about the Delaware incident:

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=402808

Zoogster
March 2, 2009, 12:13 AM
The information is there. In some states they have registration. Some palces call it registration, others something else, while some do not even mention it but still do it.

In CA for example handguns are registered automaticly and put into a database, but they do not officialy "register". Anyone moving into the state must fill out a form that registers all handguns. The word "registration" however does not exist in the process.
All firearms have a DROS (dealers record of sale) performed in the state, and those records then go to the CADOJ. That includes all the firearm information and the purchaser.

Any state level registration will at various points in time if not continuously be accessable to the Federal Government. Meaning if a state level registration exists, then a federal one using that information likely exists as well.

Under the FOPA it is illegal for the federal government to keep, maintain, or contribute in any way to the creation of firearm registration.
They have acknowledged violating that in the past.
The Feds have also tried to say keeping other illegal information in a private party's database is not a violation because it is not owned by the government. That however is still illegal because they contribute to the creation of it with information, meaning it would still be illegal registration by government.
Such programs have existed under different disguises, like college studies and others.

Some states require licenses or permits that have firearm information on them even if they do not officialy require "registration". That means the information is available to create and maintain a registry.

Anytime a state level registry exists the federal government will have access to it and likely copy it for thier own records during the course of different investigations over the years. They may store it themselves unofficialy or in a private entity's database so they can use the invalid legal defense I mentioned above if necessary.
Clearly if in violation of federal law they are not going to regularly and publicly announce how they are going about doing things, however sometimes they slip up.

SciFiJim
March 2, 2009, 12:52 AM
The FFLs are now allowed to store the information electronically on a computer. My last two handgun purchases were processed this way. It would be very easy for the government to search the database that is created. Continue to do business FTF whenever possible.

JWF III
March 2, 2009, 09:13 AM
Also the dealers records have to be tuned over when they go out of business.

Actually, not totally true.

My favorite dealer, that I've been dealing with for nearly 20 years, moved just over a year ago. In talking with the manager, who I became good friends with, their FFL Liscense couldn't be transfered. Each location must have a seperate number. (Each Walmart has a different FFL Liscense.) But this particular shop had to cancel the liscense as if they were closing, and turn over the book(s). For the new location they then had to acquire a new liscense and a new book.

So if a shop you go to moves, the books were turned over to the BATFE.

Wyman

Bubba613
March 2, 2009, 10:33 AM
I think you'd be naive to think that every gun you buy "on the grid" isn't forever recorded and linked to you...
Actually you'd have to be paranoid to believe that.
NICS by law cannot keep those records. This does not apply to ATF on multiple sales btw and they do keep records on that.
As for turning over the records, after 2 1/2 years in business as a small shop I have 1 1/2 bankers boxes of 4473s and 3 A&D books. Add the appropriate number for a shop in business 20 years with 3-4 employees and you get a sense of how much paper there is. Mining that data (most of which becomes obsolete within 6 months anyway) would take way too many man hours to yield any benefit at all. Consider how many guns you've bought and sold in your life already, and how many times you've moved.

CU74
March 2, 2009, 02:09 PM
I stopped worrying about being on some government list a long time ago. I wouldn't be surprised to find my name on several.:neener: I'm making my own lists nowadays...:scrutiny:

CoRoMo
March 2, 2009, 04:38 PM
Someday when Hillary Clinton and Rosie O'Donnell come knocking on my front door, they'll demand that I hand over all the firearms on the list in their hand. The list will have come from NICS checks and will tell them how many long guns and handguns have been purchased along with their respective purchase dates and purchase locations. Cross referencing that list with the dealers' inventory records will tell them exactly what was purchased, when and where. Fortunately for them though, I came to my senses just days before they came knocking, and I threw all my guns in a lake, but I forget which one.:p

woof
March 2, 2009, 05:21 PM
If the law says records cannot be kept past time x and they are kept they still can't be used as evidence against you. If you worry about that just report all the guns you have sold (or for that matter still have) as stolen.

Dorkfish
March 2, 2009, 05:39 PM
The BATFE transfer forms are required to be retained by the FFL holder for at least 3-5 years. (think it's 5 in the code)
That said, the NICS code states that the records are to be destroyed daily before beginning the next business day (for NICS, not your FFL holder).

What you should note is this: The BATFE form for transfer has your NICS approval number on it as well as the sn of the firearm, so if they want to use the NICS approval to look up something in relation to that approval, the data must be retained somewhere. After all, it's been proven by the tech-ees that NO DATA is every fully erased from a hard drive.

sernv99
March 2, 2009, 05:48 PM
ok , let me reiterate what you are trying to play out with your paranoid fears:

so "the man" bans guns one day and fat-so Rosie and Hillary come knocking, collecting up all the guns from us gun owners. Ok, so that would put the gun ranges out of business except for ones that cater to LE, it would also make it impossible for you to buy ammo, even reloading components since there would be no market for it in the civie world, since guns are banned. Ok are you still with me?? Ok so, no gun ranges, no ammo, can't reload. Let's say you stocked up on X amount of rounds of ammo.

so there you are with all of your guns and stocked up ammo....tell me how you are going to "enjoy" your guns? You can't go to a range because guns are banned and if you show your face at a gun range and you are not LE, well you will probably have LE all over you in 5 minutes. Also, going out in the woods and shooting for fun will ultimately catch the ear of someone and again, you will have LE come swooping in to nab ya, plus you will be wasting away precious ammo that you can't purchase anymore (since guns have been banned)...

so my question to you is, are you "flying under the radar" in case "the man" bans guns, thus making it easy for you to hide your guns and you want some guns around to defend yourself in case of some "insurgency" arises within the U.S???

Formula4Fish
March 2, 2009, 06:08 PM
Woof

If you worry about that just report all the guns you have sold (or for that matter still have) as stolen.



Hey Woof, I hope that stolen part was a "tongue in cheek" joke. If you ever have a problem that involves you still having that gun, you're either guilty of possession of a stolen firearm or of filing a false theft report.

About Big Brother: When I had an FFL, I dutifully filed all the 4473's in a binder and put them on the shelf. No one ever wanted to see them, and that shelf was where they resided as long as I held the license. I suspect if I still had the license they would still be collecting dust on the shelf.

A couple years after I let my license expire I got a letter asking me to mail in the 4473's. I ignored it. Roughly 6 months later I got another letter just like the first one, so I put them in a big envelope and shipped them off.

As inefficient as this government is, I suspect there's a good chance they just disappeared into a government black hole, never to be seen again :)

Dick

CoRoMo
March 2, 2009, 06:14 PM
The concealed carry permit databases :uhoh: will be a good place to start when the government wants to confiscate our firearms.:scrutiny:

snorko
March 2, 2009, 06:22 PM
Or credit card records. I wonder how many people have bought AK's or AR's "under the radar" and then ordered a slew of mags or accessories from some website?

leadcounsel
March 2, 2009, 06:30 PM
A couple years after I let my license expire I got a letter asking me to mail in the 4473's. I ignored it. Roughly 6 months later I got another letter just like the first one, so I put them in a big envelope and shipped them off.

As inefficient as this government is, I suspect there's a good chance they just disappeared into a government black hole, never to be seen again

And I bet the forms didn't. I bet some interns typed all of that information into massive databases and then the forms were scanned and saved. Evidenced by the fact that they didn't just forget about the forms AND many agencies/states (per the above comments) have been caught keeping the records.

sernv99
March 2, 2009, 07:54 PM
Or credit card records. I wonder how many people have bought AK's or AR's "under the radar" and then ordered a slew of mags or accessories from some website?

I doubt CC companies will hand over any records to "the man". In addition, it will take the gov't many many years just to go through all those records.

Bubba613
March 2, 2009, 07:59 PM
And I bet the forms didn't. I bet some interns typed all of that information into massive databases and then the forms were scanned and saved. Evidenced by the fact that they didn't just forget about the forms AND many agencies/states (per the above comments) have been caught keeping the records.
And I'll bet you're dead wrong.
The gov't didnt forget about the forms because dealers are required to turn them in when they go out of business. Once the license expired they waited for that to happen and when it didnt, they wrote.
The records are next to useless, and get more so as time goes on.

misANTHrope
March 2, 2009, 10:07 PM
Or credit card records. I wonder how many people have bought AK's or AR's "under the radar" and then ordered a slew of mags or accessories from some website?

I don't know about you, but my credit card records don't include itemized invoices for each order.

Anna's Dad
March 3, 2009, 08:30 PM
I have a follow-up question for anyone who might know for sure.

It seems generally agreed that dealers must retain records for 20 years. Is that all records or just sales? Meaning, if I use a dealer simpy to transfer a gun from a private seller out of state (thinking gunbroker.com) is that also kept 20 years?

I'm guessing all records are the same and the answer is "yes", but I figured I'd ask.

Thanks...

oneounceload
March 3, 2009, 08:35 PM
One thing I'm not sure about is how long dealers are required to maintain records of firearms purchases. I'm guessing this probably varies from state-to-state as well, but there are probably federal requirements as well. If anyone has info on this, I'd appreciate it.

When I had an FFL, I had to keep my records until I ceased being an FFL, at which time those records were sent to the BATF for their files/archives

rbernie
March 3, 2009, 08:39 PM
I'm guessing all records are the same and the answer is "yes", but I figured I'd ask.
All transfers get logged in/out of the bound book regardless of whether it's just a transfer or a sale. The bound book is the record that must be retained.

5knives
March 3, 2009, 08:43 PM
FWIW,

Back about '93, the ATF visited every single gun dealer in The Milwaukee, WI area. They requested the dealers book of sales records and made copies of every purchase of an AK variant or SKS going back to 1985.

I was in one shop when they paid their visit, I asked the owner if that wasn't illegal.

His answer?

"I'm certain it is, but this is my only livelihood, I've got a wife and two kids to feed and I don't dare refuse them! they can always make something up to fine me and pull my license."

The nearest agent just glared at me and went back to copying pages, the other one just smiled!

Somehow I don't believe Federal agencies feel overly constrained to follow the precise letter of the law.

Actually, based on experiences while i was a LEO, I know they don't.

Regards,
:)

Bubba613
March 4, 2009, 12:12 AM
I assume this was part of a criminal investigation and so nothing illegal about it.

As to the question about transfers or sales, any gun that stays on the dealer's premises more than 24 hours must be logged. If it is being transferred it still must be logged, even if less than 24 hours.
The 4473s must be kept 20 years, the A&D books forever.

5knives
March 4, 2009, 12:31 AM
Actually I assume it was a fishing expedition.

When they come in to check a weapon they normally have a serial number, a Manufacturer and a model number , all obtained from the manufacturer and a record of when that dealer received it from his supplier.

They don't come in with a copier and copy 8 years worth of 4473's.

And they don't do that to 20 some shops over a two month period.

Least that's how they did it both times they traced a firearm to a shop I was working in.

But, as always JMHO.

Regards,
:)

Bubba613
March 4, 2009, 12:44 AM
Fishing for what?
No, that sure sounds like a criminal investigation to me.

THOMAS W
March 4, 2009, 11:00 PM
Hello ! Am new to the forum , but a firearm enthusiast for many years . I am NOT a lawyer but the 4473's are kept on micro-fish by BATF forever once you turn em in. I believe the 90 day destruction rule was under the old BRADY BILL . The BRADY ACT did prohibit registration , but was not strictly enforced . MORE IMPORTANTLY is "The Fire Arms Owners Protection Act OF 1983 ? It PROHIBITS Federal , State and Local subdivisions from compiling a list of Firearm Owners and TYPE of firearm or serial #. Interesting eh ? Then why are the 4473's kept ? I am not a tin foil hat person , however , anyone whom believes that firearm purchase records are not kept is in denial . Semper Fi ! Tom

moooose102
March 4, 2009, 11:35 PM
i usually buy new guns, whether it be rifle or pistol. not that there is anything wrong with used, i just prefer to be responsible for every aspect of the firearms care. i guess i am kind of anal that way. as for the feds, i am sure, that somewhere, in their vast storeage collection, is the paperwork from my first new rifle purchase back in 1976. if and when they come for our guns, they will want to know where every single one that i have ever bought went. when that time comes, i think i will have a "tragic boating accident" or something. really, i am not to worried about it. i find it terribly hard to believe that they could actually try to comfiscate every single gun in america. such an action would certainly trigger a new "civil war" or maybe even an attempt to overthrow our govenment. that IS one of the reasons we have the second amendment you know. in any case, many millions of lives would be lost. it would be a lose-lose situation for our entire country. i am not so sure about them legislation to ban future purchases. our kids, and grand kids are going to have a much harder time with firearm freedoms than we have had, if something PERMANANT is not put in place, and soon!

PT1911
March 4, 2009, 11:44 PM
so.. my thing is... if you have nothing to hide, why fear the paperwork... so what if they know you bought it.. they dont know you kept it.. last I checked you could freely sell a gun to an individual whenever you like... if "they" come to your door asking for your gun (which is very unlikely as it would be very dangerous for everyone involved) who says you still own it. there is no way for "them" to verify that you still own the gun.. it is childish paranoia to avoid paperwork for fear that the government will pass a bill in the night giving them the right to come into your house and take your guns. I know bans on the commercial sale of guns may take place in the future, but the fact remains, no one is coming to take your guns, but, if by chance a law is passed to confiscate guns, better believe I am burying all but a single shot steven's 12 ga.. if they want a gun.. they can take my least valuble.. I would rather the others rot.

Bubba613
March 5, 2009, 12:10 AM
Hello ! Am new to the forum , but a firearm enthusiast for many years . I am NOT a lawyer but the 4473's are kept on micro-fish by BATF forever once you turn em in. I believe the 90 day destruction rule was under the old BRADY BILL . The BRADY ACT did prohibit registration , but was not strictly enforced . MORE IMPORTANTLY is "The Fire Arms Owners Protection Act OF 1983 ? It PROHIBITS Federal , State and Local subdivisions from compiling a list of Firearm Owners and TYPE of firearm or serial #. Interesting eh ? Then why are the 4473's kept ? I am not a tin foil hat person , however , anyone whom believes that firearm purchase records are not kept is in denial . Semper Fi ! Tom
Poor spelling, caps, poorly written, etc. Just wow.
Anyway, the 4473s are kept on premises for criminal investigations. The 4473s are not transmitted to any agency (although some of the info is). Not every state uses NICS.
I must be in denial because I don't think they keep a record of firearms purchases, beyond the multiples.

chuckusaret
March 5, 2009, 08:16 AM
And then there's Delaware, the state that was recently caught warehousing gun purchase data...
Thats the state where the guy with the "Foot in Mouth Disease" is from. Yes, Biden who is anti gun.

THOMAS W
March 5, 2009, 07:22 PM
Hey Bubba, No sense to start a flame war here cause you seem to disagree. I may not be computer savy, or have the best penmanship, but the 4473s is a record of your firearm purchase. Sure it's legal to sell guns without a FFL. I agree, most of the info contained on them change with time and is probably out of date. Never less, the 4473 is a record of your purchase . The Govt. does keep these records. I never mentioned confiscation. Having some experience with FFL License myself, they most certainly can research/use the FFL for a criminal investigation. Frankly, it makes no difference to me with filling out the 4473 form to purchase. Do some research on the "Fire Arms Owners Protection Act" signed into law in 1986 ? Fed Law 18 U.S.C. 926 (2) (A)

CoRoMo
March 5, 2009, 07:40 PM
Mention the Echelon Corporation to my dad and he'll instantly spring into 'tinfoil hat' mode. He refuses to discuss a great many issues over the phone or via email, and believe me, he has nothing worth hiding.

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