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  #1  
Old 06-16-2011, 07:55 AM
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State and Federal gun owners registry?


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A buddy of mine and I need some help to settle a friendly argument we are having. . .

It was my understanding that the federal government (either the FBI, ATF or whatever agency) does not keep a list or registry of gun owners and their guns. However, my buddy thinks that the federal government keeps a list of everyone who has legally purchased or transferred a gun, including the make model and serial number of the gun. Can someone clear this up for us?

Also, here in Rhode Island, it says right in the State Laws regarding gun ownership that the state shall not maintain a registry of gun ownership, yet again my buddy is insistent that RI does in fact have such a list.

The reason this conversation came up is a local man was arrested this week in our home town for discharging a firearm (shotgun) in his home. A neighbor called police and when the police arrived at the home they confiscated a shotgun and a 9mm pistol. It said in the news report that the police were trying to determine if the suspect was the legal owner of the two guns.

So the question came up, how exactly would the police determine that the guy was the legal owner? Assuming that the guns and their serial numbers were not previously reported stolen... if there is no state or fed gun registry how would the police determine the owner of a gun?
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  #2  
Old 06-16-2011, 07:57 AM
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Note: this is not ment to spark a heated debate on wether or not such a registry should exist, Im just trying to settle the argument with my buddy.

THANKS
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  #3  
Old 06-16-2011, 10:52 AM
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The Federal government does not keep a registry. A few states apparently do.

When you purchase a gun at a dealer, the information you've listed gets recorded on a form (ATF form 4473). Identifying information about the buyer is called into the ATF for the instant background check (NICS), but the only information about the gun provided during the NICS check is whether it is a long gun or a handgun (or "other"). After the check, the ATF is supposed to destroy their record of that information within five days.

The form 4473 is kept on file by the gun dealer, for at least 25 years. It does not go to the ATF unless 1) the dealer goes out of business, in which case the documents are shipped to the ATF for storage, or 2) the ATF specifically requests information in the course of a serial number trace or other investigation.

This is generally surprising to most people because of what they see on television.
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  #4  
Old 06-16-2011, 11:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnCruel View Post
The Federal government does not keep a registry. A few states apparently do.

When you purchase a gun at a dealer, the information you've listed gets recorded on a form (ATF form 4473). Identifying information about the buyer is called into the ATF for the instant background check (NICS), but the only information about the gun provided during the NICS check is whether it is a long gun or a handgun (or "other"). After the check, the ATF is supposed to destroy their record of that information within five days.

The form 4473 is kept on file by the gun dealer, for at least 25 years. It does not go to the ATF unless 1) the dealer goes out of business, in which case the documents are shipped to the ATF for storage, or 2) the ATF specifically requests information in the course of a serial number trace or other investigation.

This is generally surprising to most people because of what they see on television.
+100. He hit the nail on the head. Good responce.
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  #5  
Old 06-16-2011, 12:29 PM
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I know that by law neither my state not the frderal government can maintain a registry of firearms purchases. But I would love an explanation of this experience.

Nine years ago I bought a Charles Daly 1911. pistol. Seven years ago, I sold it. Two years ago -- five years after I sold it, nine years after I bought it -- a police sergeant in a town 100 miles away called me one day. An officer had found the pistol in a suitcase that was found lying in the middle of the street, and he wanted to know if the gun had been stolen from me.

If there's no registry -- how did he know it had been mine?

Now, of course, I trust the government...
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  #6  
Old 06-16-2011, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by pisgah View Post
If there's no registry -- how did he know it had been mine?
A serial number trace can be done without a registry. It's just a lot more work. The trace starts with the factory. The factory has a record of which distributor the firearm with that serial number was shipped to. The distributor has a record of the dealer it was shipped to. If you were the original buyer, the dealer has the 4473 filed away with your name on it. If someone else was the original buyer, the agent conducting the trace wants to know who it was sold to so that the chain of ownership can be followed. It is a laborious, time-consuming process that is successful only about half the time.
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  #7  
Old 06-16-2011, 01:57 PM
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Assuming the government is up to something nefarious, leading to violating your rights, etc. you will only be wrong 1 or 2% of the time.

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  #8  
Old 06-16-2011, 02:07 PM
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And for another factoid, here in Louisiana there is no registration of firearms....EXCEPT for the items classified NFA/Class III. The only state, I believe, that does this.

The state police require any item that falls into that category to be pre-registered before being transferred to the owner. So if you buy a suppressor, machine gun, short-barreled rifle or shotgun or AOW, there is a state registry in addition to the federal one.

There's no tax or charge like the feds have ($5 or $200), a non-revenue producing activity, so why must we be subjected to this? One day maybe I will find out and push to have it ended.
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  #9  
Old 06-16-2011, 03:47 PM
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Interesting topic

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania State Police have kept records of all handgun transactions within the state since 1935. There have been unsuccessful court cases to eliminate this record keeping and destroy the files. I know the state police have the records and they will furnish your data upon request. My brother requested and received a list of handguns he purchased, but it did not reflect those that he trade through dealers. Take care...
Oberndorf
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  #10  
Old 06-16-2011, 04:49 PM
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As far as ownership of the gun, if the police run a check and it is not on a stolen gun list then the person in possession owns it if he says so or borrowed from someone. Some states may require some record keeping but not mine.
In WA the local police are notified by ffl dealers of handgun sales but I don't know what they do with the records.

Last edited by tomc; 06-16-2011 at 04:53 PM.
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  #11  
Old 06-16-2011, 05:19 PM
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They say they don't here in Oregon, but when they call in the background check to the state police they give them the make, model, caliber and serial # of the firearm, along with all of your info, so you can't tell me they don't here?
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  #12  
Old 06-17-2011, 12:13 PM
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By law Congress does not allow the funding of a database to keep track of arm purchases. Those that have been following the "funding" of stuff in the Federal government will then ask "What if they say it is not funded, but, they do it for "free"?".

Then a really astute person will ask "Do any of these laws apply to Interpol?". No, they do not by Obama's executive order, so now Interpol can track anything they choose in the USA and then report the results, if they choose, to the Federal government. This includes compiling databases.

This includes being inside the Google database and I now assume Yahoo too. Remember when they did the co-op thing supposedly against Microsoft? A cover story.

This is called "working under the radar" when talking to the Brady Bunch.

As for sending the records of out of business dealers to the BATF-E, do you think those records are all sitting in a warehouse or digitized and filed in a search able computer database?

The BATF-E is now spending over $300,000 per employee per year.
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  #13  
Old 06-17-2011, 01:13 PM
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>It is a laborious, time-consuming process that is successful only about half the time.

So when the Sergeant told me the gun had been found "last night", he really meant to say, "three weeks ago and, boy, were we lucky to find you!"?
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  #14  
Old 07-05-2011, 01:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnCruel View Post
The Federal government does not keep a registry. A few states apparently do.
.
The federal government does not LAWFULLY keep a registry.
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  #15  
Old 07-05-2011, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnCruel View Post
After the check, the ATF is supposed to destroy their record of that information within five days.
Yes the ATF will destory the record on or after the 5th day. BUT what everyone forgets is that the nightly backup of the servers are retained forever. Therefore the record is never destroyed.

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  #16  
Old 07-05-2011, 03:12 PM
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Questor -

Please reduce the size of your avator to that of others.

Thank you.
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  #17  
Old 07-11-2011, 07:22 PM
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In my state of MI we are to inform an officer (if we get pulled over in our vehicle) that we are carrying. It say nothing about needing to inform if we are not carrying. Once while not carrying but evidently speeding, I got pulled over. After the officer got done with his business, handed back my driver liecense and turned to walk away, he says to me "you know you needed to inform me if you are carrying your concealed weapon with you?" I said "yes sir, if I had had a concealed handgun I would have" He smiled and walked away. My question is "How did he know?"
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  #18  
Old 07-11-2011, 07:49 PM
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Every police car I know of around my area has a computer inside. They know everything about you before they step out of their vehicle and come to the window. Probably have already seen your picture, too.
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  #19  
Old 07-12-2011, 03:09 AM
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>My question is "How did he know?"

In some states, the drivers license and Concealed Carry permit files are linked -- check one, and you get both.
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  #20  
Old 07-15-2011, 06:30 PM
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But why does the police have to know? I do not want to sound ignorant, but if I'm being pulled over for speeding, what does it matter if I have a CCW permit or not. I'm being pulled over for speeding! Also, if I'm a criminal that is speeding (speeding is a crime) shouldn't all educated officers assume I'm armed when they approach the vehicle?---For their "saftey"? Or are they looking for something more? Please forgive me if I don't "get it".
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