De Facto Registry?

Tam says we shouldn’t worry about warranty registration cards, and explains how the BATFE trace process works.  I agree about the warranty cards, but I’m usually too lazy to fill them out and mail them.  She also says that 4473 requirements shouldn’t be considered a registry.

I agree with Tam on the substance of the issue, but I do still think that, technically, it does amount to a form or registration, but not the kind that generally worries us.

To me the real test is whether or not the government can go to a computer and ask “Show me all the guns that Sebastian owns”.  If they can, that worries me, because if a confiscation law is ever passed, I’m a few keystroke away from a knock on the door by someone with a gun, badge and a list.

But the current system doesn’t lend itself to that kind of question.  Given enough time, and legwork, a particular gun can indeed be traced to its last legal owner, but they can’t find out what other guns I own.

But despite that,  on 4473, or even the dealer’s bound book, is contained all the information that would be necessary to make such a registry.  The only thing standing in the way is a change in the law, a giant pile of money from congress, and an army of data entry people.  If a confiscation law were ever to pass, and Congress or a state government thought it was important enough to invest huge sums of money on computerizing all the forms out there, they would have all my guns in due time.  They wouldn’t even really need all the 4473s.   Really, the dealer’s bound book would be all that’s needed.

Also, some larger FFLs have computerized records.  They still keep the 4473, but they keep their bound books in computer form.  I seem to recall the ATF can allow some type 01 and 02 FFLs to do this.  For these larger FFLs, a lot of the dirty work is already done.

But this step would require an Act of Congress.  Naturally, we would fight this as hard, or harder, than we would an actual name, address and serial number registration bill.