Supporters of gun control have long called for a national database of gun owners. However, as it currently stands there is no national registry of firearms—and despite what movies and TV shows may suggest, law enforcement can’t simply type a name into a gun database and see if that individual owns a firearm. In fact, the Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986 (FOPA) actually had some prohibitions against the establishment of a national gun registry by federal law enforcement. That said; there are still “federal databases” of guns. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) currently maintains records of stolen guns, as well as those that are used or are suspected of being used in a crime. The National Tracking Center (NTC) is currently the only crime tracing facility in the United States. Its mission is to conduct firearms tracing to provide investigative leads for federal, state, local, and foreign law enforcement agencies. The Issue of Privacy This isn’t just a Second Amendment issue, as noted by Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), which was established in 1994 as a public interest research center focused on privacy and civil liberties. It considered both sides of the debate for a national gun database: “Some gun-control lobbyists argue that if records of gun owners were made available, then this increased regulation of weapons would decrease potentially violent crimes. Taking the opposite view, other advocates believe it is their legal right to own and use a firearm, and that anonymity is […]
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