I follow the politics of the anti-freedom movement in this country with particular attention paid to gun control. One of my tools for doing this is google’s news alerts. It’s a wonderful tool. This morning I got a notice about Gun control reappears as political issue. Heavy sigh… It included this little nugget:
…the recently enacted omnibus appropriations bill rolls back the government’s timetable in tracking illegal guns. Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) sponsored in the provision in the House. It requires the FBI to destroy gun-buyer records 24 hours after a weapon is sold. The Brady law had required the FBI to retain such records for up to 90 days.
This is a commonly held belief but it is false. The original Brady Act said:
(2) If receipt of a firearm would not violate section 922 (g) or (n) or State law, the system shall–
(A) assign a unique identification number to the transfer;
(B) provide the licensee with the number; and
(C) destroy all records of the system with respect to the call (other than the identifying number and the date the number was assigned) and all records of the system relating to the person or the transfer.
Item (C) was interpreted by the pro-freedom activists to mean they would be destroyed almost immediately. This would allevate the concerns about creating a Federal gun owner database by default. The Brady Act would not have passed without this provision. The FBI didn’t destroy the records. Janet Reno said they were being held for “audit purposes“. Unfortunately they were also being used for other things as well. One would have thought that if they were by law to be destroyed then they could not be legally used for tracking down gun owners that passed the initial background check. But this wasn’t the case. Law enforcement was using the records for far more than “audit purposes“. The new law restores the original intent and the big fuss this created by the new law should be that law enforcement was violating the law to begin with and another law was necessary to curb them.
I wrote the author of the article a polite letter explaining things and suggested he should check any facts obtained from the gun control people carefully. They are frequently misleading in their statements — for example there is no such thing as a “Gun Show Loophole”. All the laws and regulations that apply at a gun shop also apply at a gun show.