Gunwalker -- effect on cooperating FFLs
Interesting comment in this chain at CleanUpATF.org. It's about a third of the way down, or you can search for "Ike," Essentially--
ATF uses traces to spot problem dealers. Whatever the reason for the trace, it counts as a "crime gun," and too many traces of those to a dealer marks him as a suspect. The dealers who were cooperating with ATF and making the sales will be flagged for the foreseeable future as massive sources of crime guns.
Moreover, with etrace now available to Mexican and Guatamalan authorities, with every trace they are sent the dealer's name and address, and the buyer's identification. "If the firearm is traced successfully, first purchaser Information is provided, including purchase Date, Full Name and Full Address, Date of Birth, Place of Birth, Race, Sex, Social Security Number (may be redacted for certain foreign traces), Drivers License Number, Height, Weight." In short, data that would be an identity thief's dream.
I wonder if anyone cleared that with the Privacy Act? That statute has a variety of requirements, including announcing in the Federal Register all agency databases and their routine uses. It also forbids release of data on a person, with certain exceptions. The one for law enforcement releases doesn't seem to cover this, it allows release "to another agency or to an instrumentality of any governmental jurisdiction within or under the control of the United States for a civil or criminal law enforcement activity if the activity is authorized by law..." 5 USC 552a(b)(7). The data is not being released to an agency "within or under the control of the United States."
And the quote of the year: "In May, 2008, William Newell, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF Phoenix Office reported: "When 90 percent-plus of the firearms recovered from these violent drug cartels are from a U.S. source, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to stem the illegal flow of these firearms to these thugs." [and how is that working for you, Bill?]"
UPDATE: reader Ike writes, in a comment the spam filter won't allow:
"f the dealer is out of business, ATF has the complete documentation for
the trace right down to the first retail purchaser - including the
4473. Make no mistake - this is a permanent registration record.
If the dealer is still in business, ATF will call the dealer (or pay a
visit) to retrieve the personal purchaser data from the 4473 form -
which becomes a permanent registration record..
Trace data is available via the internet (through eTrace) to some 33
countries and foreign police departments - not just Mexico and
Guatamala. The countries include: Mexico, Colombia, Suriname, Tobago,
Guyana, Canada, Germany, Bahamas, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Barbados,
Anguilla, Antigua, Barbuda, Aruba, Curacao, Dominica, Grenada, St
Vincent, Grenadines St. Lucia, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador,
Guatemala, Panama, St. Kitts, Nevis, several Caribbean police forces,
Britain, Australia, Japan, and Belgium.
ATF has responded to trace requests from over 58 countries, freely
providing personal data on first purchaser American gun owners who are
probably innocent - and certainly presumed innocent."