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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Obama Administration Collecting Race and Ethnicity Information on Gun Purchase Forms

When I first saw this article in the Washington Times reporting that ATF Form 4473 was collecting race and ethnicity information, I wasn't going to write about it because the article noted that the change to form 4473 was done back in 2012 and I believed that anyone who purchased a firearm in the last two years would have noticed it. 


But today I noticed that Dave Workman, the Seattle Gun Examiner writer, also wrote about this issue.  Workman noted the quote by New Jersey firearms attorney Evan Nappen in the Times article, so it made me wonder if there is more to the story that I originally thought:
New Jersey attorney Evan Nappen is quoted by the newspaper raising a serious question that nobody in the gun prohibition lobby seems inclined to answer. After observing that requiring this information is offensive, Nappen added, “If there’s no need for an amendment, then there’s usually a political reason for the change. What this indicates is it was done for political reasons, not law enforcement reasons.”
There is nothing in federal law that requires the collection of race or ethnicity.  ATF claims the change was made because it needed to update its forms to comply with an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) reporting standard put into effect during the Clinton administration. Just an aside, that begs the question as to why it took 10 years to comply with an OMB standard.  Prior to 2012, the 4473 forms had been collecting race data.

Workman addressed the issue from the standpoint of Initiative 594 (I-594), currently on the ballot in Washington State, that would require anyone simply loaning firearms to one another, which is perfectly legal, to go through a federally licensed firearms retailer for a background check. If I-594 passes, it could all but outlaw hands-on firearm training because an instructor would have to go to a dealer to do a background check on his/her trainee before handing off the firearm to the trainee, then the trainee would have to have a background check conducted on the trainer before handing the firearm back to that person.  Additionally, privacy is a concern being raised by I-594 opponents, including the two major statewide law enforcement organizations that oppose the ballot initiative, the Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs, and Washington State Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors Association.

So, just what is ATF and the Obama Administration up to?

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