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Old 11-15-2011, 08:26 PM
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Default Does the Government keep records of gun transactions forever?

I recently traded a semi-auto I didn't like for an S&W 28-2 that I do like. I was talking to the manager of the gun section of this large chain store about record keeping on gun transactions. He said they were required to keep these records indefinitely. I thought there was a law passed in the '90s that said these records were supposed to be destroyed after a certain amount of time. In fact I remember hearing then Attorney General Janet Reno's office was under fire for not complying. Was I mistaken?
I really shouldn't care as all my transactions are perfectly within the bounds of the law, but I guess if these records are available at all times for Government inspection, that would make confiscation relatively easy. At least for guns bought from a dealer. Are all dealers required to keep these records indefinitely?
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Old 11-15-2011, 08:46 PM
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If the .gov got serious about "confiscating" guns, 90% of them would be gone in a week. They wouldn't be using 4473's to do it, quit worrying. When I "withdrew my application for renewal" in '95, my 01 FFL, bound book and 4473's went to the ATF in Falling Waters WV. I'm sure they still have them and since my customers were stable types, probably 3/4 of the guns are still at the same addresses. None of us has more than the illusion of privacy anymore. Joe
Member"Other Half"01/20/2017
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Old 11-15-2011, 10:06 PM
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The dealers bound book is kept forever. When your dealer calls NICS on the paper you fill out the info is to be purged after 24 hours. That is what Janet Reno was called for.

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Old 11-15-2011, 10:23 PM
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When I decided I'd had enough, I didn't renew and sent my bound book in as required. My opinion is that they have a warehouse full of them and who do they have that's going to read them? I'm hoping it's a lot like the gov't having data on 5 1/4" floppy discs. Super duper fantastic but they probably don't have the computers that can read them anymore. How much gov't data is lost forever because the technology to access it is obsolete and the hardware to read it isn't made anymore? Just rambling but I'm hoping the records get lost in somewhere in that vacume cleaner bag called Washington.
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Old 11-15-2011, 10:46 PM
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As a current class I FFL holder, I can tell you that 4473 forms and "bound books" are kept only by the dealer and can be destroyed after 20 years. The only records that a gun dealer turns over to BATF are records less than 20 years at the time he goes out of business and allows the FFL to expire. As for the data given to the FBI (not the BATF) for NICS background check, the NICS info is supposed to be deleted immediately, by law, but whether the present administration follows that law, is anybody's guess. We all know they wouldn't lie to us..
BATF is permitted to copy data from dealer records relative to ongoing investigations, which leaves room for possible abuse.
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Old 11-16-2011, 12:10 AM
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The government has a great deal of "private" information like gun sales that it is not illegal for the government to possess just temporarily illegal to use.
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Old 11-16-2011, 07:35 PM
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I quit the FFL after Clinton got in and sent my records to the BATF in Falling Waters W Va about 1994 and you can bet your bottom dollar they are on a computer some where in the bowls of the ATF. Jeff
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Old 11-16-2011, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by jrm53 View Post
some where in the bowls of the ATF.
Its not bowls, its bowels, like your large intestine. But the anatomy of The ATF, or BATFE is different than a human's. Most of the agency is better described as the lower exit of the bowels. We all know the slang term.

As I see the situation, FFLs vary all over the place on their political views. Some will be very scrupulous in their destruction of their old records. Others will be casual and maybe even keep them well past their "expiration date".

In the past during the Klinton Administration, they even issued a government grant, spelled $$$ to the State of PA so they could computerize the FFL records. It caused a real mess at the time, because there were Federal Laws prohibiting the Feds from doing that. To get around the law, YOUR government gave a state a grant to finance the illegal. If we'd have done that, we'd be charged with conspiracy at the very least. Just remember the laws apply against you, the government is free to do as they please.
Dick Burg
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Old 11-16-2011, 11:06 PM
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Originally Posted by pharmer View Post
90% of them would be gone in a week.
That's a WHOLE lot of boating accidents

(though I doubt that's what you really meant)
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Old 11-16-2011, 11:58 PM
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None of you ever watched The X Files??

All data is stored in huge hidden warehouses that extend for miles and miles. Each box as a tag on it with your name.
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Old 11-17-2011, 07:12 AM
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I'm a Veteran formally with a “secret” clearance, I’m a life member of the NRA, I’m active in my church and the American Legion and I have a C&R FFL and a CCW. I’m sure that based on these items alone I am on a Government watch list somewhere as a potential threat to the country. Why worry about what they do with the forms I fill out when I purchase a firearm? If “they” want to come knocking on my door in the middle of the night I’m sure they are creative enough to justify it to their satisfaction.

Last edited by walnutred; 11-17-2011 at 10:08 AM.
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Old 11-17-2011, 10:38 AM
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Correct me, if I am wrong, but I thought the stores that sold the guns retained the records. I wasn't aware the government retained any paper work from firearm sales.
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ccw, nra

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