President Joe Biden’s administration has compiled the records of nearly one billion gun purchases in the United States, the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) admitted in a letter reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon and first reported on Monday.
In the letter to Rep. Michael Cloud (R-TX), the ATF revealed that it has a database of 920,664,765 firearm purchase records. The letter was dated Dec. 21, 2021 and was not leaked until this week.
Under the Gun Control Act of 1968, gun stores that close down are required to turn over to the ATF the private records of gun transactions, which are subsequently stored at a federal location in West Virginia. Now, gun advocacy groups say that information is being used by the federal government to create a national gun owners’ database, which is prohibited under U.S. law.
Following a report last year that the Biden administration had received 54.7 million records on gun transactions from licensed gun stores that went out of business in FY21, Rep. Cloud led an investigation into the database that he says could be exploited to surveil American gun owners.
“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,” he continued. “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.”
A spokesman for the ATF previously told the Free Beacon that the department’s “National Tracing Center processes millions of out of business records each month,” but that “those out of business records do not constitute an initiation or continuation of any federal gun registry.”
As the ATF continues collecting millions of gun purchase records, the Biden administration is pushing to change federal law to force gun shops to keep gun records in perpetuity. Gun stores currently have the right to destroy records after 20 years.
Cloud and other lawmakers said in a letter to the ATF that the proposed change would mean “that 100 percent of all lawful commercial firearm transfers would eventually end up in an ATF computer system, thereby creating a permanent database.”
Aidan Johnston, director of federal affairs for Gun Owners of America, warned the database is the Biden administration’s path toward creating a national gun registry.
“Make no mistake—this is clear evidence that a partial national gun registry exists,” Johnston told The Free Beacon. “If the American people don’t stand up for their rights now, Biden’s anti-gun ATF will be able to track gun owners, infringe on our rights, and potentially even confiscate our firearms.”