While researching the gun control debate in the US, this caught my eye:

Mr Biden also accused the nation's top gun rights lobbying group, the National Rifle Association (NRA), of spreading disinformation, and promised expanded background checks would not lead to a national gun registry.

Source: US Senate opens first gun control debate in years - BBC

Does the Toomey-Manchin background check proposal include a federal gun registry or not? And if not, does it include provisions that may lead to a federal gun registry in the near future?


It does not. All gun purchase records on kept a) on paper b) not digitized and c) only stored at the location of purchase. This is actually part of the current laws and the proposals do nothing to change that.

NPR did an overview of the process today: http://www.npr.org/2013/04/11/176954637/gun-registration-paper-trail-is-long-and-convoluted

  • I can't find a citation for it right now but I think I also read that there are maximum limits on how long the detail paperwork can be kept, i.e. it must be destroyed within a certain amount of time after the sale.
    – JNK
    Apr 12 '13 at 13:14
  • 1
    That is the current process. The proproal includes sending the specifics of the weapons being purchased with the back ground checks, and would be collected for use by the government in analysis. But as we learned with the baseball steriods, statistic collection means that eventually the details get used not just the statistics. Apr 12 '13 at 18:59
  • Is there any proof that there are no records of background checks saved/cached somewhere in a database? Just because a proposal doesn't explicitly authorizes such a registry, without explicit language prohibiting such data collection the registry DB is likely to be created in the future, even if not for ostensible "registry" purposes.
    – user4012
    Apr 12 '13 at 19:47
  • My answer pertains to the purchase records--the ones stored by the seller. I don't know the status or process of background check records or the specifics of how that works.
    – user1530
    Apr 12 '13 at 20:21
  • (or for that matter, if background checks are even 'records' of any sort that are kept...that's likely another good question!)
    – user1530
    Apr 12 '13 at 20:46

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