It has been revealed that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, And Explosives (ATF) has been inconsistent in deleting sales records of firearms, especially those from out-of-business gun dealers, according to this story fromguns.com.
A study was published Monday by the Government Accountability Office looking at four of the 16 databases regarding retail sales maintained by the ATF. The four are the ones used to trace firearms recovered at crime scenes back to their original owner.
In general, the study found the ATF was compliant with the appropriations act that prohibits consolidating federal firearms licenses records, but it identified records in three systems that were supposed to be deleted, the story says.
In the agency’s 2000 system, while deleting records of FFLs still in business, had records from out-of-business dealers as well.
“A2K provides servers for National Tracing Center personnel to electronically search participating FFLs’ records at their premises. As GAO inspectors were conducting the study, ATF acknowledged the issue and deleted the records in March 2016.”
“The Firearm Recovery Notification Program generally complied with the restriction, but a program operating 2007 to 2009 did not. A glitch allowed ATF agents to access FRNP data— including purchaser data — beyond what ATF policy permitted.”
“The FRNP system maintains information on firearms the agency suspects of being involved in criminal activity even though they haven’t been recovered by law enforcement. Although ATF cancelled the program in 2009, it also deleted the related data in March 2016.”
This week, we reported that the new director of the ATF, Thomas Brandon, said the agency is underfunded and woefully understaffed, with only about 620 agents to monitor the some 130,000 gun shops in the nation. He also wants to institute a national gun registry to make the bureau’s job easier.