Gun Control: Lawmakers Try To Stop ATF From Racial Profiling

Whether or not gun control has anything to do with this federal paperwork requirement, two GOP lawmakers are trying to ban the Obama administration from apparently engaging in racial profiling in connection with gun sales.

As The Inquisitr previously reported, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms is requiring legal gun buyers to declare their race and ethnicity upon purchase.

In response, Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) and Ted Poe (R-Texas) introduced the Freedom from Intrusive Regulatory Enforcement of Arbitrary Registration Mandates Act, or FIREARM Act, in the House of Representatives on Thursday with the following summary language: “The Federal Government may not require any person to disclose the race or ethnicity of the person in connection with the transfer of a firearm to the person.”

The form in question, designated number 4473, “which was revised by ATF in 2012 to create a box that lists ethnicity and then another that defines race — has become a headache for firearms dealers, as many people either check off one box or the other. Failure to complete them both results in an ATF violation. When a firearm dealer gets audited by the ATF, one violation — no matter how minor — is enough reason to revoke a license,” the Washington Times explained.

Added about the form, “Currently failing to adhere to answering these questions, which cannot be skipped, can lead to a non-transfer, and the possibility of fines and imprisonment. Form 4473 is filled out upon any over the counter firearms transaction conducted through one of the ATF’s 139,000 Federal Firearms License holders.” Since April 2012, buyers have to indicate whether they are Hispanic or Non-Hispanic and then answer a follow-up question about whether they are American Indian or Alaskan Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, or White. According to an ABC News affiliate, “the ATF is saying they are going to start cracking down on dealers who haven’t been requiring buyers to fill out this portion of the form.”

In a statement about the bill she is co-sponsoring, Rep. Black said that “This requirement by the ATF is highly intrusive and unnecessary. Failing to adhere to this requirement by not checking all of the correct boxes on the 4473 Form is considered an ATF violation that can be so severe as to result in the gun dealer being shut down for having incomplete purchaser forms. My commonsense legislation would simply stop the federal government from requiring businesses and consumers to comply with this ‘race and ethnicity standard.’”

Rep. Poe echoed these sentiments: “Washington bureaucrats have no business requiring citizens who are lawfully purchasing firearms to disclose their race or ethnicity. This is an intrusive and unnecessary requirement. As long as the gun is purchased lawfully, race or ethnicity should be irrelevant.”

Do you think there is any appropriate reason for the ATF to collect race or ethnicity data in firearms transactions?

[image credit: Marcin Wichary]