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Interesting info on how 4473s are used

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by larryh1108, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. larryh1108

    larryh1108 Well-Known Member

    After gun crime, weapon history takes time to find
    3 hours ago

    This photo taken Jan. 23, 2013 shows Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms an...
    WASHINGTON — In the fictional world of television police dramas, a few quick clicks on a computer lead investigators to the owner of a gun recovered at a bloody crime scene. Before the first commercial, the TV detectives are on the trail of the suspect.

    Reality is a world away. There is no national database of guns. Not of who owns them, how many are sold annually or even how many exist.

    Federal law bars the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives from keeping track of guns. The only time the government can track the history of a gun, including its first buyer and seller, is after it's used in a crime.


    Associated Press reporter Eileen Sullivan contributed to this report.


    This is the way it's supposed to be but is this the way it really is?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2013
  2. mgkdrgn

    mgkdrgn Well-Known Member

    My god! An actual factual AP article. Yes, that is the way it really is.

    That writer has probably already been fired.
  3. GBExpat

    GBExpat Well-Known Member

    In 2002, just about the time that the DC Beltway Sniper pair were finally apprehended, my local "kitchen table" 01FFL told me that a couple of ATF Agents had just recently appeared at his door requesting he pull all 4473s for AR-style rifles.

    He mentioned this to me primarily because of the Bushmaster that I had purchased thru him during the prior year.
  4. JRH6856

    JRH6856 Well-Known Member

    Find me a dealer who keeps his records on toilet paper. He needs our support.
  5. Ragnar Danneskjold

    Ragnar Danneskjold Well-Known Member

    Good. I'm glad it's that difficult. And I say this as a LEO. Liberty should always trump making our jobs easier. The whole point of the Constitution is to make things harder for government agents to interfere with people.
  6. vito

    vito Well-Known Member

    When the anti-gunners ask why not have a national database of all guns and gun owners they seem surprised when we do not agree. In part at least our opposition stems from the reality that the gun control supporters often admit that their ultimate goal is the confiscation of our guns. Why would we agree to any system that furthers that end? As hard as it might be for government agents to trace a gun through purchase records, it is still scary that they can do this at all. Some of us remember the days when there was NO paperwork involved in buying a gun. What a different world it was when I could walk into a sporting goods store, see a gun on display and just present my cash or write a check (no credit cards then!). I might have had to show my driver's license just to prove I was a resident of the state but I really can't remember that; I know that nothing was written down by the store clerk. I still remember buying a little Baby Browning 25 acp (I wish I still had that tiny little jewel), a box of ammo, and the store clerk loading the magazine and showing me how to make sure the mag was pushed all the way into the gun so that it would properly cycle. I walked out of the store with the gun loaded (but in the box since ironically concealed carry was not legal in that state at the time). That was the "good old days".
  7. Superpsy

    Superpsy Well-Known Member

    Ha! I laughed at that one too.
  8. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

    And even though ATF can't tell police departments where guns are coming from, the Washington Post knew exactly how many guns from each FFL had turned up south of the border right before Fast & Furious blew up in their face. Yet according to this article, it would be totally against the law for a police department to have that information, let alone a newspaper.
  9. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    That's not completely correct. The files are imaged, but then those files are coded to include the business name, location information, FFL # and any other keyword that goes into a searchable database that allows the image to be found by that indexing information.

    So they don't have any way to search current businesses, but they do have a database to allow them to search the dead files sent to them.
  10. huntsman

    huntsman Well-Known Member

    yet they sit there nibbling around the edges and wait.

    I fear the bureaucrats more than the politicians and once the legal flood gates burst open their passion for the cause will be frightening.
  11. HoosierQ

    HoosierQ Well-Known Member

    I read this too.

    All large-scale conspriracy theories share some common themes. One of them is "hyper-competency". This is the basically a condition where the organization perpetrating the conspiracy is just so darned good at what it does, that it can do whatever it wants, get away with it, fake all the evidence of their involvement (or the involvement of others), and do so without leaving any sort of detectable trace.

    There are lots of theories on this board about the upcoming gun grab that will no doubt be perpetrated by government agents, to which there is no limit in numbers or money, that has access to a perfect, up-to-date, lightning fast database of everything about everybody.

    The other characteristic is that a certain number of people will believe them.

    This article shows that our govenment is anything but "hyper-compentent". I work in an industry that relies heavily on scanned documents. They are an absolute nightmare, get lost often enough (not as often as paper mind you) and just as the article says, are not searchable. Unless these scanned documents have meta data attached to them, they just a bunch of photos on microfilm. Since they have temps and contractros scanning them in, I imagine they're just out there by the terabyte as big PDF images...unsearchable PDF images.
  12. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Well-Known Member

    The government has been imaging (scanning) most of its records for a long time now. They have large high speed scanners. As many know, with proper indexing, those images can be searched via computer. But it certainly is not as easy as shown on the crime shows.

    I was surprised that the article did not make a case for a national gun registry. There is some sense in creating such, but that assumes we have honest people working and running the government. I don't think you can assume "honesty" or "ethical" behavior as in most cases, the end justifies the means. All you need to watch is our election process.
  13. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Well-Known Member

    Bloomberg's MAIG was using that information to sue gun dealers. Suits that were often frivilous harassment. Lawsuits that sometimes interfered with ATF investigations (with cooperation of the dealers) to identify gun trafficking gangs.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2013
  14. Bubbles

    Bubbles Well-Known Member

    The tracing center is not in "rural WV". It's in Martinsburg and I drive by it on my way to/from work every day. :rolleyes:

    They are correct that for an investigation someone from the ATF or FBI can show up at the FFL's location with a subpoena to get copies of all 4473's for a particular person. We had it happen once, the agent even brought his own scanner to use.

    Unfortunately too many traces end with finding the firearm being traced was stolen from a lawful owner, and that trace info is not used to eventually return the firearm.
  15. medalguy

    medalguy Well-Known Member

    I see advertisements all the time for a scanner that will scan business cards, receipts, and other paper documents, and organize that information into data files and store the information. The retail cost is very minimal.

    Does anyone believe BATF does not possess or use any kind of similar process to scan 4473s and sort them by serial number or other readily identifiable information that is always in the same block on every form? As long as they are scanning the documents, might as well sort by serial number, model, and so forth. It's not a database, it's just a method of "sorting" to quickly find pertinent information. After all, it's for the children. :scrutiny:
  16. natman

    natman Well-Known Member

    Recycle, reuse.

    It's the least we can do for the environment.
  17. Tango57

    Tango57 Member

    "Scanned documents not searchable"?

    Anyone else here use a Neat Reciepts scanner? Slick little piece of programming. It will scan a free form piece of paper and suck out all kinds of stuff... Type of buisness name pricing tax paid you name it... And autopopulate that into a spreadsheet, database or accounting program. My experience is the dang thing is over 90% accurate.

    Don't tell me the Batf can't do that with a fixed field document.....

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk when i should have been doing something useful
  18. larryh1108

    larryh1108 Well-Known Member

    It would be easy to set up certain data fields from scanning since every 4473 is the exact same format. I know I can make it searchable and I'm no computer specialist. So, we take that with a grain of salt or maybe, when it was set up, the technology was too expensive to use. Like anything else, the costs are way down now. Or, they already do it but claim they don't (my guess) because it's "illegal".
  19. medalguy

    medalguy Well-Known Member

    It's only illegal if they get caught doing it.
  20. wally

    wally Well-Known Member

    Yes and it worked just fine even before there were form 4473s that needed to be filled out using normal business records. Check the history of the "tracing" of the rifle used in the Kennedy assignation -- they knew he had bought it mail order form Kliens the next day, way before computers and databases. The need for such is just welfare for paper pushing bureaucrats, or the evil purposes of enabling future confiscation.

    And there is someone to prosecute the case! Lots of illeagal aliens voter fraudsters are caught, but near zero are prosecuted!

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