Last year Congressman Michael Cloud, R-Texas, introduced a bill to ensure firearm transfer records are not to be retained. The bill, “No Retaining Every Gun In a System That Restricts Your Rights Act,” would help mitigate governmental overreach when it comes to firearm possession and procurement tracking. The bill number and preliminary title are: H.R.1271 – To amend title 18, United States Code, to discontinue the collection by the Federal Government of firearm transaction records of discontinued firearms businesses, to require the destruction of such already collected records, and for other purposes. Cloud announced the reintroduction on March 1, 2023:
Today, Congressman Cloud led a group of 62 Republicans in reintroducing the No Retaining Every Gun In a System That Restricts Your (REGISTRY) Rights Act. This bill would prevent the federal government from building a federal firearms registry.
Federal Firearm Licensees (FFLs) must give all of their firearm transaction records to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) once they go out of business. The ATF maintains all these records in the Out-of-Business Records Imaging System (OBRIS) database.
Up until President Biden took office, FFLs were allowed to destroy firearm transaction records after 20 years. However, a rule was finalized last year that would require FFLs to maintain all firearm transaction records in perpetuity instead of destroying them after 20 years.
There are valid concerns that the Biden Administration is taking a backdoor approach to create a federal firearms registry, which led Congressman Cloud to launch an investigation into ATF’s (OBRIS) database in 2021.
The federal government amassing a database of gun owner information is something Americans should be worried about. Thankfully we have members of Congress, like Cloud, who are willing to step up to the plate and swing. This at least brings the topic to everyone’s attention through continued introduction of the measure.
The bill, if it becomes law, would require the ATF to destroy any already accumulated records they have amassed, and require FFLs going out of business to destroy their records. These types of records are ripe for abuse when in the hands of the wrong officials in the government.
To Cloud, registries amount to what he’d consider an infringement on Americans’ rights, “The Second Amendment is clear: the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed,” he said. “The Federal Government does not have the right to subject its law-abiding, citizen firearm owners to excessive scrutiny. My bill would dismantle ATF’s record keeping, restore privacy for American gun owners, and reverse the groundwork laid for the creation of a federal firearms registry.”
American gun-owners are rightfully concerned about the Biden administration’s willingness to use their authority to impose restrictions on law-abiding Americans. And it is Congress’ job to provide the oversight to ensure a registry is never implemented.
Under a Biden-Harris administration, this bill is not likely to be signed into law, nor have enough votes for full passage, but that does not diminish its importance. Having members of congress, like Cloud, look into instances of executive overreach is important. We’re dealing with a government that’s seeking to usurp the role of Congress through regulation, with many agencies working outside of the scope of the powers they’re granted by our legislative branch. This bill is important for ensuring the powers of the ATF are limited, in black and white, with no ambiguity, and sends a message that rogue agencies are being watched.
The current version of the bill is not yet available, however the former version can be read about HERE. We’ll be watching the progress of this bill as it advances, as well as report on any other aspects of federal overreach within agencies of the U.S.