The government’s top watchdog revealed in a new report that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) essentially maintained a database of law-abiding gun owners by ignoring its own policies.
According to Government Accountability Office (GAO) auditors, ATF failed to remove the names of gun purchasers from its Multiple Sales (MS) database and another system called Access 2000 which allowed it to stockpile information on lawful gun owners by scouring the records of out of business federal firearms license holders.
FFLs are required to report to the ATF the names of customers who purchase multiple firearms at once. ATF is supposed to keep the names on file for no longer than two years, after which policies require that the agency remove identifying information about the buyers if the firearms haven’t been linked to a crime.
But for more than two decades, the agency has failed to comply with the privacy protection policies with regularity.