A useful form from the ATF

It’s rare that I’m going to suggest the ATF is good for something. But this, via an ATF Tweet, is a pretty good idea if you handle it right. It is a Personal Firearms Record. In case one or more of your guns are stolen you have the serial numbers to give the police to aid in identification and return. I don’t see much of a point in the “cost” or “purchase location” columns but you don’t have use them.

I don’t recommend using the ATF form directly, web bugs or the equivalent could cause you to self register as a gun owner. Printing it out while you are disconnected from the Internet should be fine. Or you might want to consider using this version (Mayor Joel emailed me a still different version in .PDF format with a space for pictures) which I created from scratch which has the same format.

And I would treat this document with more security than I did the guns themselves. If the police can find this document and decrypt it then you have just self-registered all your guns. I’m thinking this would be a valid application of encrypting the file, hiding it with steganography, putting it on a CD, removing all fingerprints and DNA, the burying it as a private “geocache” somewhere in the woods.*

Now that the ATF has finally done something useful can we disband them as a “poor return on investment”?


*Ry was referring to himself this morning in a much different context when he proclaimed, “I need to go get fitted for my tin-foil hat.” But he could have been speaking for me in many instances.

15 thoughts on “A useful form from the ATF

  1. Alternatively, you could just print the thing out as-is, and fill it in manually with a pen, then hid it. That way, there’s no possible record that you did anything other than print it out, which you could have been doing for a friend.

  2. I just have a document on my Google Drive with all the pertinent information

  3. Just create an Excel spreadsheet. One column for manufacturer, one for model, one for caliber, and one for serial#. Its done on your computer. Name it something like “grocery list” or “Billybob’s 5th Grade math scores”. Print it. Not hard, and offline. If you don’t have Excel, download libreoffice (google it…its free). They have a spreadsheet program in there.

  4. Cost and Purchase Location are probably useful for people who have large gun collections and special insurance on their collection.

  5. Since you mentioned steganography, let me put in a plug for TrueCrypt, a very nice, free, and highly portable full device encryption program. I use it on several external disks, USB sticks, etc. That’s just plain encryption but it does steganography as well. Open source so you can scrutinize it and confirm there are no back doors.

  6. This is a good place to mention one of my favorite subjects. Do you insure your guns on a “personal articles floater” off your homeowner/renter insurance so all of them are covered, not just an arbitrary and small dollar amount’s worth of them?

    You may have just registered all of them. One of the things the FISA Court could do in secret would be to get all THAT data from the insurance companies. I tried to investigate this possibility back-channel, but came up gooseggs. With all the recent privacy violations, I have to believe it’s already happened.

  7. Pingback: SayUncle » Something useful from ATF

  8. With USAA, I just tell them how much my guns are worth. No numbers, types, or serials. If I have a loss, I pay the deductible and they cut me a check for the difference. Now that is not to say that they wouldn’t drop me if I had a catastrophic loss or got in the habit of having guns stolen.

  9. If you are truly paranoid, you won’t type the information into a computer. Computers are a security nightmare. It’s too easy for someone to put something like a keylogger on your machine, and if you aren’t a full-time computer security specialist, your computer is easy to compromise, and it doesn’t necessarily require physical access to your computer.

    If you merely write something down on paper, thought, it requires actual physical access to the document in order to read it, which is harder to accomplish unnoticed, and of course impossible to do remotely.

    • It does depend a lot on which operating system is running on the computer in question. And even if you don’t trust Unixes, I think I could put such a document on my PDP-11 without worrying much about viruses. 🙂

  10. On the other hand – guess what?

    Unless you use a tor anonymizer (and one you can trust) and an anonymous browser to look at gun blogs, you’ve already effectively “self-registered as a gun owner”, if the government actually cared about trying to track “people who probably own a gun”.

    Oh, they won’t know what you have, but they’ll be pretty sure you have one.

    (And naturally, if you have a CCW? You might as well just not care about Sneaky Feds Seeing Your Gun List.

    Because they already know you have guns, and if there’s a Wicked Fascist Gun Grab you’re already on the list.

    Or have fun and pad it out with things you wish you owned.

    Me, I’m not worrying about any of that, because life’s too short and the cost/benefit isn’t in favor of worrying about it.)

  11. Joe thank you for the form, however it would be better in .doc , .rtf, or .ODF format, to allow it to be opened by more users.

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