Reports of audit of NFA database
By way of background, under the NFA the BATFE is charged with keeping records of the several hundred thousand licensed NFA firearms (chiefly full-autos, but also short barreled guns and some others). Going back to 1978, there have been complaints that the database is seriously flawed, there are licensed guns, probably MANY licensed guns out there that don't show up in the present database, and there have been intermittant reports of persons being raided, etc. who turned out to have complied with the law. (Back in 78 or 79, I dealt with dealer and collector Curtis Earl, who during a raid had agents stack up a pile of his inventory that their records showed had no proper registration. He went into his files, produced his copies, and every one of the firearms went back onto his racks).
From Eric Larson, who has keep pushing the issue these ten or twenty years:
In a letter dated October 21, 2005, the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (OIG) stated that the OIG will begin an audit of the NFRTR in late 2005.
Specifically, Deputy Inspector General Paul K. Martin wrote: "In response to correspondence we have received expressing concerns over the accuracy and completeness of the NFRTR, the OIG plans to initiate a review of the ATF's management of the NFRTR in late 2005." The letter repeats many of ATF's recent responses to questions about the NFRTR (and attributes them to ATF). But the letter also notably states that the OIG is "also aware of extensive correspondence, beginning in 1998 and continuing through the present, [alleging inaccuracies in the NFRTR] between the concerned individuals and the ATF, United States Attorneys' Offices, and the Department of the Treasury OIG, as well as several Members of Congress."
The lesson to be drawn here is the importance of involving your Congressional representatives in expressing your concerns about the NFRTR. It is obvious from this letter that the sustained objections to how ATF is conducting the public business have been heard, and will now be acted upon.
A copy of the letter is at the web site of the National Firearms Act Owners Association (NFAOA).
A huge "thank-you" is due to Mr. Cott Lang, who took the time to express his concerns to his Congressional representatives, as well as to the many other people I know who have worked hard on these issues, and involved their Congressional representatives as well.
Finally---I've said this before, and will say it again---the ATF is not immune to Congressional pressures and concerns, and at the end of the day the Congress can go a long way towards reforming ATF if it wants to. The "if it wants to" requires people who are willing to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Be part of the solution by continuing to express your concerns to your Congressinal representatives.
The Department of Justice Inspector General has recently done some audit work involving ATF. Take a look at the NFAOA web site, under "Resources," for an example of that work---and imagine that kind of attention and diligence being paid to ATF's mismanagement of the NFRTR. It is likely going to be a whole new day for the NFAOA community.