Accidental National Gun Registry?


The creation of a national gun registry, or centralized database for every gun in America, is prohibited by statute. Nevertheless, a backdoor appears to be left open – and fear mounts that records traditionally used to assure guns do not fall into the wrong hands by legal sale, will be used for other purposes.

Specifically, the Firearm Owners’ Protection Act, a 1986 law amending a 1968 law, makes clear that gun owners have rights secured to them through the Second Amendment, and further secured by both judicial interpretation and legislative protections.

The 1986 act grew out of concern that average gun owners were being harassed by overzealous federal officials, in effect eclipsing the Second Amendment by implicit coercion, intimidation, and attempts to reduce overall gun ownership, or minimize use of firearms for legal purposes. 

The concern was not one-sided, but bipartisan, and came at a time when perhaps two-thirds of all Americans owned firearms. While ownership has trended down in recent decades, especially in urban centers, it has trended up markedly – including in urban centers – in the past several years.

A committee of Congress found, in 1982 – in the run-up the 1986 law banning a registry and supporting citizen owners – that citizen rights are critical.

“The conclusion is … inescapable that the history, concept, and wording of the Second Amendment to the Constitution … as well as its interpretation by every major … court in the first half-century after its ratification, indicates that what is protected is an individual right of a private citizen to own and carry firearms in a peaceful manner,” without government registration or intimidation. See, Firearm Owners Protection Act.

While the law has often been controversial, some flow-downs are clear. States have a right to register firearms, pursuant to the 10th Amendment and States’ rights, which also reflect differing state interpretations of how best to balance ownership and public safety.

Similarly, states can legislate certain time, place, and manner restrictions, although the Supreme Court has indicated in the past 20 years that these will be closely scrutinized to assure they do not violate the Second Amendment.

Finally, the law is clear on one point – which again goes to avoiding federal coercion – and that is that no federal registry of firearms can be created, which would in effect permit federal – a large, centralized government – intimidating average, legal, law-abiding citizen gun owners.

This is where things are getting dicey, and facts suggest an “open backdoor” that could imperil legal gun owners’ rights – especially the right not to be harassed by reference to the federal database. 

In effect, the federal government has come into possession of more than 920 million records of gun owners – across the country – because so many licensed firearms dealers have gone under during COVID.

While some might see a conspiracy, this is likely a mere outgrowth of the virus, public fears, federal mandates tied to inoculations, masks, and OSHA, plus a down economy, tight labor market, and small margins. 

But the effect is the same, the federal government is in possession of records that – once turned digital – allow a de facto database to exist, at least one that reflects sales by the legal or licensed firearms dealers who have gone out of business.

On the data, this seems a violation of the foregoing statute, although the government says they have no intent to use the emerging database as a formal registry, or to permit or pursue harassment of legal gun owners. And the government does have the right to collect records from defunct sellers.

Even this assurance may in principle be true, but history also teaches us that the best-laid plans of mice and men often go astray, and that governments with power use it, eventually. 

So, what is the protection that could be used to assure no registry-based harassment by the federal government in two, five, ten, twenty years? What might restore the protections that the 1986 act sought to provide, align the reality with the law, and in the process protect average citizens – and assure the Second Amendment is not unintentionally eviscerated?

The answer is two-fold. First, with gun rights increasingly under review – and that means, restrictions by the government under review – by the conservative Supreme Court, a challenge that seeks to preserve citizen rights may be launched, and a case announced that protects these rights.

At the same time, legislation might be lofted, likely in the next Congress, not this one, assuming Republicans can gain control of one of both chambers, to reaffirm that citizen gun rights under the Second Amendment are kept sacrosanct, not subjected to the kind of “Big Brother” oversight that would, in time, lead to their erosion, eclipse, eventually curtailment.

All this may seem a distant worry, or something that should not garner so much ink, but rights – of all kinds – are lost by inches, by indifference, by assuming the best, by forgetting the adage offered by Lord Acton, centuries ago:  Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

The best way to protect citizen rights – of all kinds – is to watch closely that infringements of all kinds are prevented, even the incremental and seeming innocuous – especially those infringements.

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Lawrence Greenberg
7 months ago

Too many people have a simple and basic misunderstanding about “gun control.” “Gun control” is not now, and has never been, about crime or criminals.  Quite frankly, the Left couldn’t give a rat’s behind about crime or criminals.  Gun control is, and has always been, about disarming the citizenry so they cannot represent a threat to the government once the Left establishes the dictatorship they have been working toward for well more than half a century and, thanks to the stolen elections of November 2020 and January 2021, are now in the process of consolidating.  The key word in the term “gun control” is not “gun” – it is “control.”  A quick study of basic world history will show that one of the first actions taken by every Communist government upon their takeover was to go to all of the local police stations, get the lists of gun owners, and then go door to door and disarm everyone.  That is why the Communists – er, I mean the Democrats – want a national gun registry.  Is there really anyone at this point in time who still does not understand this?

And by the way, it is way beyond disingenuous that the Left always speaks of “we need gun control” as if there were currently no laws concerning firearms. There are now more than 24,000 gun control laws in effect at the federal, state, and local levels in this nation (a storing argument can be made that every one of them is unconstitutional, but that is a discussion for another day). Every conceivable aspect of firearm purchase, ownership, and use is covered dozens of times over. Firearms are by far the single most regulated and restricted consumer product in this nation. The only ones who are impacted by all these laws are the law-abiding. Criminals very rarely (check the FBI data on this) even attempt to obtain firearms through legal channels, and are thus unaffected by “gun control.” As I stated above, “gun control” has nothing to do with crime or criminals.

Jay Dee
7 months ago

This has to be the most supremely wasteful use of taxpayer dollars. The hunt for the Son of Sam proved that. 20% of firearms disappear from the system within five years from their last sale through a FFL. The only thing that 50 year old records accomplish is hiring more bureaucrats who contribute to the election of pliable politicians who will hire more bureaucrats.

7 months ago

This is why, except for a few firearms bought at a FFL, all my AR rifles are built from 80% lower receivers.
The exceptions being a M1 Garand, a 20 Gauge shotgun, a Savage 64F .22LR and my 300BLK pistol on an Anderson lower and my PT111 Millennium G2 9mm. pistol.
Five ARs in various calibers and one AR10 in 7.62X52/308WIN.

Joe R.
7 months ago

Defending the 2nd Amendment With the 2nd Amendment is shaky ground (obviously).

INSTEAD – Cite the Declaration of Independence [which cannot be repealed or rewritten]. It is there that you’ll find the recitation that your rights are unalienable and from your Creator. Further, that document states 2x in its “flesh-language” of Paragraph 2 that you should chuck your government “whenever” you deem necessary. One of those times it even states (again in its “flesh-language”) that it is your “duty” to. there is no way our Founders / Framers wrote that, yet still intended for a bona fide U.S. Citizen to have to ask for the means, or the permission to obtain the means, to do so from their government (that needed replacing). Absolutely no way those two things ‘match up’. Further, there is no way they wrote that, and yet can have others counter-claim that they should have to say it again, or anywhere say it more distinctly, in order that people get the full gist of what “they intended” or “what their state of mind was” when they wrote that or anything else.

It must not be allowed to be forgotten, too, that all “Rights” are “unalienable” and from “Our Creator”, per The Declaration of Independence. The Constitution itself only uses the word “right” one time, and that was in Article 8 with respect to “Patents”. Further, ALL “rights” are essentially freedoms FROM government, therefore, and thereby, “government” cannot also be the source, the purveyor, OR THE PROTECTOR, of such rights, and there is no logical argument that can be made to the contrary.

Joe R.
7 months ago

How ignorant do you have to be to put 2 + 2 together.

The ATF&E DEMANDS records kept on gun purchases by dealers, those can be (if they are not already) easily tied to the NICS check phone call that authorized [or denied?] a purchase.

Only private transfers are not “tracked”, but commercial ammunition sales are.

7 months ago

There must never be any listing and records kept by the government of any LEGAL sale of a firearm.

Bill T
7 months ago


7 months ago

The CCP controls the government but they need to disarm the populace to take possession of what the believe they own.

7 months ago

Thanks Denise. Ill only add 3 things: i believe it was a Senator Dodd, of the treason party, Chris’s father, who brought the nazi gun law here in 68. Nixon wanted to ban all handguns, so the Rs are not pure on the two A. Lastly, there was a recent substack piece on gun control that describes, using cartoons, how much has already been taken, beginning with the nfa.

Michael l Javick Ret US Army
7 months ago

The article stated that the government has COME INTO POSESSION (?) the records of those gun shops that went out of business during the Covid plandemic. Oh really ? What gives them the right to do this? For what reason?

7 months ago

FFL “rules” say 4473s (the self-certification form you have to fill out to purchase a shotgun, rifle, pistol, revolver, that you weren’t a felon or on drugs with severe penalties, unless you are hunter biden) which FFL dealer, gunsmith, importer HAD TO retain store ALL 4473s by other ATFE rules) when china joe killed the economy, the FFLs were no longer ABLE to keep the records (yes, more ATFE rules) so they HAD to be turned in by guess what? ATFE rules. But of course it was serendipity favoring people(?) that want full national registration, never intended to bypass the 1985 Firearm Owners Protection Act which prevented the government from acquisition of firearm ownership data (and why the FFL HAD to retain all the records, instead of the ATFE)

7 months ago

Robert B. Charles: “All this may seem a distant worry . .rights are lost by inches, by indifference, by assuming the best, by forgetting the adage offered by Lord Acton, centuries ago: Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” I hope to always remember it MUST be an IMMEDIATE, constant, concern. Thank you for reminding us of what is actually on the scales here.[and yes, the omnipresent MSM thumb on our scale is especially worrisome].

Philip Hammersley
7 months ago

NOTHING that DIMMs do is “accidental” or by mistake. They want to abridge our constitutional rights : first, second, and fourth amendments in particular. Hope several of our legal groups file lawsuits immediately!!

Bill James
7 months ago

Ditto for all of the Bill of Rights, but particularly the first ammendment.

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