Most gun owners know the basic process to purchase a firearm from a Federal Firearms Licensee (“FFL”). After deciding which firearm you want to buy, an FFL will run a background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”). This information can include your name, Social Security number, address, criminal history, information about your mental health history, etc. If your background check is accepted, the FFL is authorized to proceed with the sale and must enter the transaction into their records within seven days. If your NICS check is “delayed” or “denied,” an FFL will likely be unable to complete the sale.
In accordance with ATF guidelines, FFLs must hold these records of Acquisition & Disposition (“A&D”) for no less than 20 years. If an FFL goes out of business, these ATF guidelines require the FFL to turn the A&D records over to the federal government. In fact, the ATF has confirmed that it manages a database of such transactions with nearly 1 billion firearm purchase records. The ATF recently proposed a new regulation, 2021R-05, that would seriously alter this requirement. The new regulation, encouraged by the Biden administration, would require FFLs to hold all A&D records indefinitely. It would also continue to require an FFL to turn over all A&D records to the ATF if the FFL goes out of business. Effectively, the ATF would have much easier access to all A&D records.