New gun buyers must reveal race, ethnicity under Obama administration policy change

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Never mind the content of one’s character, to buy a gun in America today purchasers must reveal the color of their skin.

Two years ago, the Obama administration quietly made a policy change that forces buyers to declare their race and ethnicity when purchasing firearms, The Washington Times reported.

Critics charge the policy change is of little use to law enforcement and creates the risk of privacy intrusions and racial profiling, according to the newspaper.

The Times reported:

With little fanfare, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in 2012 amended its Form 4473 — the transactional record the government requires gun purchasers and sellers to fill out when buying a firearm — to identify buyers as either Hispanic, Latino or not. Then a buyer must check his or her race: Indian, Asian, black, Pacific Islander or white.

And the change is creating havoc for gun retailers, who could be shut down if they fail to ensure buyers check both boxes, according to the Times.

Legal experts say federal law does not require such information, and question whether it’s an intrusion on privacy.

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“This issue concerns me deeply because, first, it’s offensive, and, secondly, there’s no need for it,” Evan Nappen, a private practice firearms lawyer in New Jersey, told the newspaper. “If there’s no need for an amendment, then there’s usually a political reason for the change. What this indicates is it was done for political reasons, not law enforcement reasons.”

Breaking from the Obama administration’s pattern of blaming George W. Bush, the ATF is pinning this one on the Clinton administration, telling the Times that the change is necessary to comply with a reporting standard put into effect then.

Tom Tillison


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