A Secret Gun Registry? You’ll Never Believe Who Already Has It

Kim LaCapria - Author

Aug. 23 2017, Updated 2:00 a.m. ET

The NRA has been organizing against a secret database of all gun owners, a list compiled by the government of lawful, legal firearms registrants or simply buyers in states with more lax gun laws.

It’s long been a fear of gun owners that a gun registry would come into effect, placing gun owners alongside sex offenders and child abusers in groups of Americans who are on a list somewhere without their consent.

But BuzzFeed has posted an interesting tidbit about a gun registry that already exists, aggregating data across state lines and throughout various sets of gun laws from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, the kind the National Rifle Association long warned gun owners would be used against them should such a resource be compiled.

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The funny thing? The NRA allegedly cobbled together this ad-hoc, extra-judicial gun owner registry of sorts, BuzzFeed essentially said. (It’s difficult to parse because, in part, the NRA is not very transparent about this gun owner list made without the consent of the gun owners on it.)

In fact, the way the site describes it, the Obama administration could only dream of such a comprehensive dossier on gun owners in America, describing a database that might make any civil libertarian shudder:

“[The gun owner database] is housed in the Virginia offices of the NRA itself. The country’s largest privately held database of current, former, and prospective gun owners is one of the powerful lobby’s secret weapons, expanding its influence well beyond its estimated 3 million members and bolstering its political supremacy… That database has been built through years of acquiring gun permit registration lists from state and county offices, gathering names of new owners from the thousands of gun-safety classes taught by NRA-certified instructors and by buying lists of attendees of gun shows, subscribers to gun magazines, and more, BuzzFeed has learned.”

The site asked about what the NRA’s gun owner database exists to do or how such information might be protected from falling into the wrong hands, to which NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam replied that it’s “not any of your business.”

Do you think a national gun owner registry, list, or database places gun owners at risk?


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