According to internal Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms documents, the Biden administration has accumulated records of 54 million U.S. gun owners in the last year and is poised to change gun regulations to ensure that information on gun-owning Americans ends up in the federal government's hands.
According to an internal ATF document, the ATF processed 54.7 million out-of-business documents.
When a licensed gun store closes, the ATF takes possession of the confidential documents describing gun sales and stores them at a government facility in West Virginia.
This approach permits the federal government to store a large number of gun records and has sparked uproar among gun rights advocates who claim the government is utilizing the data to construct a national database of gun owners, which is illegal under US law.
This statistic has been criticized by gun activists as alarmingly high, fueling suspicions that the Biden administration is attempting to find all Americans who own firearms.
The ATF's acquisition of these records comes as the Biden administration works to change current regulations to ensure that gun records are kept indefinitely.
Currently, gun dealers have the option of destroying their data after 20 years, preventing the ATF from accessing the information.
"As if the Biden administration's misuse of 'out-of-business' records wasn't unconstitutional or criminal enough, the Biden administration's misuse of 'out-of-business' records doesn't end there," Aidan Johnston, director of federal affairs for the Gun Owners of America.
Gun rights activists and the federal government have long fought over the ATF's register site.
Those in favor of stricter gun laws want the ATF to digitize the registry and create a government database of gun owners, but groups like the Gun Owners of America and the National Rifle Association oppose this.
The ATF's "National Tracing Center" processes millions of out-of-business data each month, according to an ATF spokeswoman who declined to comment on internal agency information. "Those out-of-business documents do not constitute the establishment or continuance of any government firearms registry," the official added.
The Gun Control Act of 1968 requires licensed weapon dealers to turn over their information to the ATF when they close their doors.
As the Biden administration prepares to enact various new limitations on firearms and owners, including a planned ban on anywhere from 10 to 40 million pistol braces, which are used as stabilizers on popular weapons such as AR-15s, the problem of record-keeping has resurfaced. Gun owners would be required to register or destroy these pistol braces under these requirements.
The ATF's proposed standards would also require background checks on gun parts, indicating that if someone built a legal handmade gun, he could be subjected to up to 16 different background checks.
Gun rights groups accuse the Biden administration of manipulating the rule-making process in order to rush these laws into effect by the end of the year.
"The Biden administration has compelled ATF to complete the rule-making process in record time, resulting in erroneous argumentation and demonstrating that neither ATF nor Biden's anti-gun nominees have any knowledge of the firearms and accessories they intend to regulate," Johnston stated.
The ATF asserted, through a spokeswoman, that its rule-making process allows gun advocates, experts, and others to provide feedback on proposed regulations well before they take effect.