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51 GOP reps. warn Biden admin may create federal gun registry with proposed ATF rule

Store managers show a customer ammo at the Get Loaded gun store on June 30, 2016, in Grand Terrace, Calif. (Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
November 22, 2021

Dozens of House Republicans are warning that President Joe Biden’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) could be making moves to create a backdoor federal gun registry.

In a letter to acting ATF Director Marvin Richardson on Monday, Rep. Michael Cloud (R-TX) led 51 GOP lawmakers in expressing concern over a potential ATF rule that could provide the agency with a gun registry that would circumvent current laws preventing it.  

The new rule being considered would force federal firearms licensees to keep firearm purchase records forever. Current regulations allow licensees to delete records at the 20-year mark.

While the change may seem innocuous on its own, federal licensees are required to turn over records to the ATF if they close a shop, which means the records of every gun buyer in American would eventually be submitted to the ATF.

The Republican lawmakers wrote that they are “concerned” the Biden administration is “leveraging its power in a way to establish a federal gun registry, noting that the new rule would create “a permanent database” of gun owners.

“Congress has also made it clear in the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act  that the federal government shall not create a federal gun registry and has prohibited ATF from creating any centralized databases with its funding,” the letter stated.

“This gives us serious cause for concern that the Biden Administration is intent on creating a federal gun registry by circumventing the legislative process,” the letter continued, later adding, “It is critical that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives does not use its power to encroach on the privacy of gun owners and restrict their Second Amendment rights.”

In a statement to Fox News, Rep. Cloud accused the Biden administration of “yet again ignoring the real threats against America and instead using political leverage to encroach on the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.”

“This proposed rule would be a giant leap toward a federal firearm registry, which is explicitly banned by law,” he continued. “Requiring federal firearm licensees to preserve records older than 20 years will enable the Biden administration to collect more information on law-abiding gun owners, all with the purpose of eventually having a registry of every gun owner in the United States.”

Earlier this month, internal documents at the ATF reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon revealed the Biden administration has compiled the records of over 54 million gun owners in the United States.

According to the document, the ATF obtained 53.8 million paper records and an additional 887,000 electronic records in FY21.