Via email from Joe Waldron of Gun Owners Action League of WA, February 1, 2013:
Let there be no doubt in your mind, HB 1588, and similar bills to be offered at the federal level, are after one thing only: gun registration. If they want to debate registration, by all means do so. But call it what it is. Don’t try to sell it under a false flag, and one that is likely to gain widespread support even among gun owners. There ARE ways to conduct background checks WITHOUT the record-keeping. We showed them that in Olympia twice in the past decade. They rejected it, and admitted that what they wanted was the “audit trail” — the paperwork.
“Audit trail”. Yeah. Got it.
That is what they said about the NICS checks records when they were supposed to be destroyed after a person had successfully passed. They didn’t destroy the records as required by law. They kept them “for audit purposes”.
Attorney General Janet Reno even once said the system was unable to delete the records. Then they, with much howling, consented to 90 day retention of the records. In 2001, under a new administration, the DOJ changed the retention to “less than one day”. In reviewing the impact this would have the GAO reported (pages 1 and 2):
According to the NICS regulations, information on allowed firearms sales is used only for purposes related to ensuring the proper operation of the system or conducting audits of the use of the system.
Then on page 4:
NICS officials told us, however, that the FBI would not lose any routine audit capabilities under the proposed policy for next-day destruction of records.
On the other hand, a next-day destruction policy would adversely affect
certain nonroutine audits of the system. Specifically, under current DOJ
policy, if a law enforcement agency has information that indicates that an individual is prohibited from purchasing firearms under federal law, the agency may request that the FBI check whether the name appears in NICS records of allowed transfers. If the FBI finds a record showing an allowed transfer to a “prohibited person” (e.g., a transfer to an alien who is illegally or unlawfully in the United States), that record indicates a potential violation of law, and the FBI may disclose the record to the appropriate law enforcement entity. These audits of the accuracy of responses given by NICS, and the additional (secondary) benefit of assisting law enforcement investigations, generally would not be possible under a next-day destruction policy.
In the GAO’s own document the FBI was admitting they were using the records in ways that were not authorized by law. Yet no one went to jail.
Eventually, they claim, regulations were implemented that required the records be destroyed within 24 hours. But why should we trust them? They were using the records illegally before and no one was punished. What is the incentive to keep them from violating the law again? They cannot be trusted.
In California and New York where guns were registered gun owners were told, with great sincerity, “No one is trying to take your guns.” In New York, several years ago, they did confiscate registered guns. In California they are attempting to pass laws that will confiscate registered guns.
The government in general, and anti-gun people in particular, cannot be trusted. Do not ever give them a means, no matter how indirect, to register your guns, your books, your religion, or your sexual preferences. It’s none of their business. And all have been used in other times and other places to imprison and/or murder people by the 10s of thousands and even millions.
If you allow it there is an unacceptably high chance it will not end well.