In a recent op-ed, Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell claimed that Biden doesn’t want “to take away your guns” and “there is no such thing as a gun registry,” all while the Biden Administration enacts a ban on up to 40,000,000 pistols and is supercharging the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) near-billion record gun registry.
At this point, gun owners are unsurprised when anti-gun politicians reveal their ignorance on Second Amendment issues, but let’s set the record straight anyway.
1. Biden Is Coming For Your Guns
Swalwell boldly claimed, “Let’s be crystal clear—the Biden administration has no secret plan to take away your guns.”
We do have to give him some credit here. Biden’s plan is certainly no secret!
When asked whether “a Biden administration means they’re going to come for my guns,” Biden responded, “Bingo. You’re right, if you have an assault weapon.”
If you’re one of the millions of gun owners who owns a so-called “assault weapon” or braced pistol, then you know: Biden is coming for your guns.
2. ATF is Maintaining A Digital Database Of Guns And Owners
Swalwell referred to claims made by Gun Owners of America, Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, and dozens of Members of Congress that ATF has a “backdoor registry” as “patently false,” a “lie,” “misinformation,” an “unfounded conspiracy theory,” a “false conspirac[y],” and “conspiracy clickbait.”
However, as he well knows (Swalwell linked to the official letter in his own op-ed), ATF recently admitted to Cloud in November that they manage 920,664,765 records, with 865,787,086 “in digitalized format.”
ATF itself disputes Swalwell’s claim. Each of these records can include the names, social security numbers, addresses, height, weight, sex, race, ethnicity, birthday and place of birth of gun owners and at least one of their gun’s serial numbers, make, model, and weapon type.
As ATF plainly states, these records are stored in a digital government database.
3. ATF’s Gun Registry Is Illegal
Rep. Swalwell claims that “a gun registry does not exist and is not even being contemplated to illegally track law abiding individuals.”
However, we know that ATF maintains nearly a billion gun and gun owner records despite federal law prohibiting the creation of “any system of registration of firearms, firearms owners, or firearms transactions” or the keeping of these records at any “facility owned, managed, or controlled by the United States.”
Biden and ATF appear to have violated nearly every word of that statute.
4. This Registry Is Searchable
Despite denying the existence of a gun registry, Swalwell also discusses the “uses and limitations of ATF’s records system.” While he admits that ATF has been “digitizing paper records,” he proposes that these are “non-searchable images.”
ATF claims it cannot search the database using optical character recognition by name, but a GOA Freedom of Information Act request revealed that ATF “can filter results using Serial Number, […] Manufacturer, Weapon Type, Caliber, [and] Model.”
For a President about to ban 40,000,000 braced firearms based on items provided in this illegal registry—such as their Make (AR-15) and Weapon Type (Pistol)—these search functions sure will come in handy.
5. This Registry Has Nothing To Do With Public Safety
Swalwell claims this gun registry is “an essential law enforcement tool to keeping our streets safe.”
And anyone who has watched Law and Order cops on TV complete a “gun trace” to catch a criminal might be inclined to agree.
However, there is no evidence that firearm traces help solve crimes. Seriously! ATF admitted to Congress that they have “no ability to determine the successful prosecution […] of crime gun traces.”
Despite everything Swalwell misstated, the truth is that: 1) Biden is coming for your guns, 2) ATF is maintaining a digital database of guns and gun owners, that 3) appears to be illegal, that 4) is searchable, and that 5) is not for any demonstrably efficacious law enforcement purpose.
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