Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, Reps. Diane Black (R-TN-06) and Ted Poe (R-TX-02) introduced the FIREARM (Freedom From Intrusive Regulatory Enforcement of Arbitrary Registration Mandates) Act – legislation to prohibit the federal government from requiring race or ethnicity to be disclosed in connection with the purchase of a firearm. In 2012, the Obama Administration quietly began requiring the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to record firearms purchasers’ race and ethnicity.
“This requirement by the ATF is highly intrusive and unnecessary,” said Congressman Black. “Failing to adhere to this requirement by not checking all of the correct boxes on the 4473 Form is considered an ATF violation that can be so severe as to result in the gun dealer being shut down for having incomplete purchaser forms. This is causing a headache for many firearms retailers and this commonsense legislation would simply stop the federal government from requiring businesses and consumers to comply with this ‘race and ethnicity standard.'”
“Washington bureaucrats have no business requiring citizens who are lawfully purchasing firearms to disclose their race or ethnicity,” said Congressman Poe. “Under this rule, both gun dealers and purchasers face the threat of federal prosecution for not disclosing race or ethnicity on a form. This is an intrusive and unnecessary requirement. As long as the gun is purchased lawfully, race or ethnicity should be irrelevant.”
The ATF’s justification for this requirement stems from a “race and ethnicity standard” devised by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) almost 20 years ago. According to the OMB, the 4473 Form was to be updated by ATF by 2003; however, there is no federal law requiring this administrative directive. Why, almost 10 years later, is the federal government requiring gun store owners and purchasers to record race and ethnicity? Failing to adhere to this requirement — if the boxes are left blank — can result in the ATF shutting down the business for having incomplete purchaser forms.