The Biden administration is in possession of nearly one billion records detailing American citizens’ firearm purchases, far more than Congress and the public has been aware of, according to new information from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
The ATF disclosed to lawmakers that it manages a database of 920,664,765 firearm purchase records, including both digital and hard copy versions of these transactions. When a licensed gun store goes out of business, its private records detailing gun transactions become ATF property and are stored at a federal site in West Virginia. The practice has contributed to the fears of gun advocacy groups and Second Amendment champions in Congress that the federal government is creating a national database of gun owners, which violates longstanding federal statutes.
Rep. Michael Cloud (R., Texas), who led an investigation into the ATF database following a November Free Beacon report that the Biden administration had stockpiled records of more than 54 million gun transactions in 2021, expressed shock at the number of gun records being kept by the federal government. Cloud maintains that the ATF’s database could be exploited by the Biden administration to surveil American gun owners as it pursues new restrictions on firearms.
"A federal firearm registry is explicitly banned by law. Yet, the Biden administration is again circumventing Congress and enabling the notably corrupt ATF to manage a database of nearly a billion gun transfer records," Cloud told the Free Beacon. "Under the president's watch, the ATF has increased surveillance on American gun owners at an abhorrent level. The Biden administration continues to empower criminals and foreign nationals while threatening the rights of law-abiding Americans. It's shameful and this administration should reconsider its continued attacks on American gun owners."
While the ATF denies that these records are used to track gun owners, it transfers hard copies of the information into a searchable digital database that it says is used to trace firearms tied to crimes. The ATF reported that 865,787,086 of the records are already in a digital format.