A government report discovered the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) illegally stockpiles gun owners’ personal information.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), the go-to federal oversight agency, conducted an audit of ATF and found it does not remove certain identifiable information, despite the law explicitly mandating it do so. GAO conducted reviews for four data systems, and concluded at least two of ATF’s systems violated official protocols.
One of the data-collecting systems called Multiple Sales (MS) requires that multiple firearms purchased at once must be reported to ATF by the federal firearms licensee (FFL). ATF policy requires that the bureau internally removes particular data from multiple gun sales reports after two years if the firearm has not been traced to criminal activity. GAO found that ATF does not adhere to its own policy. In fact, “until May 2016, MS contained over 10,000 names that were not consistently deleted within the required 2 years.”
Another system called Access 2000, or A2K, establishes servers to be used by National Tracing Center (NTC) personnel. The NTC can electronically search FFLs’ records for certain information needed to track the history of a firearm.