“And existing law also bars the use of those records for other purposes,” Calabrese continued, explaining that the government is supposed to be barred by the Privacy Act from transferring database information between agencies without the consent of the individual citizen.
“We think those are privacy best practices,” Calabrese said. “We think almost all government databases should operate that way.”
“Once you no longer need the information, you should destroy it. Information collected for one purpose shouldn’t be used for another purpose,” he said.
But Calabrese says that Reid’s legislation fails to include those “privacy best practices.”
“Contrast this with what the existing [Reid] legislation says, which is simply that a record has to be kept of a private transfer,” Calabrese highlighted, “and it doesn’t have any of the protections that we have in current law for existing licensees.”
“We think that that kind of record-keeping requirement could result in keeping long-term detailed records of purchases and creation of a new government database.”
“And they come to use databases for all sorts of different purposes,” Calabrese said. “For example, the National Counterterrorism Center recently gave itself the authority to collect all kinds of existing federal databases and performed terrorism related searches regarding those databases. They essentially exempted themselves from a lot of existing Privacy Act protections.”
“So you just worry that you’re going to see searches of the databases and an expansion for purposes that were not intended when the information was collected.”
Reid’s legislation is hauntingly vague about who would physically keep information about American gun purchases, but it’s crystal clear that records will be kept.
“Regulations … shall include a provision requiring a record of transaction of any transfer that occurred between an unlicensed transfer or and unlicensed transferee,” according to the bill.