Records kept on gun owners


Published: Saturday, January 31, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 30, 2004 at 11:55 p.m.

Leslie Wooten (Voice, Jan. 22) said the Brady Bill would be weakened by allowing gun dealers to discard their records of gun purchases after just "one day." Nothing could be further from the truth.

When you purchase a handgun from a firearms dealer, you complete a paper document, the ATF Form 4473. After recording your personal information and verifying your identity, the information is transmitted to the FBI's NICS database.

If you meet all the requirements for age, no criminal background, citizenship status, etc. you can then purchase a handgun, however you cannot take it home with you until the specified Brady Bill waiting period is over.

Your original Form 4473 has to be maintained by the gun dealer indefinitely - or until they go out of business. At that point the original records must be sent to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms where they are archived forever by the government. Law enforcement may access these original documents without a warrant.

When the NICS database was created it was stipulated that it would not become a proxy gun registration scheme, thus strict limits on how long the searches are retained in the database were created.

People who shop at bookstores and use libraries have not broken any laws exercising their First Amendment rights and many feel strongly against their inclusion in government databases. Why shouldn't the same be said for gun owners who have broken no laws and want to exercise rights guaranteed under the Second Amendment?

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