Washington, D.C. – This week Reps. Ted Poe (R-TX-02) and Diane Black (R-TN-06) reintroduced 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’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) quietly implemented a change to its Form 4473 which requires firearm purchasers to disclose both their race and ethnicity. Failure to answer these questions is considered an ATF violation and gun retailers could be put out of business for repeated offenses.
“This requirement by the ATF is another example how this administration continually makes it harder for law-abiding citizens to possess firearms,” said Congressman Ted Poe. “Forcing citizens who are lawfully purchasing guns to disclose race and ethnicity with the threat of federal prosecution if they fail to disclose is completely unnecessary. Bottom line, if a law-abiding citizen is lawfully purchasing firearms, race and ethnicity are irrelevant. It is time to stop punishing those who are following the law.”
“Law abiding citizens should never have to play 20 questions with Uncle Sam just to access their fundamental right to keep and bear arms,” said Congressman Diane Black. “As a gun owner myself, I know that this is not only a Second Amendment concern, but also a privacy concern. The government has no legitimate reason to collect this information in the first place. That is why my bill would ban the ATF from requiring Americans to list their race or ethnicity in order to purchase a firearm.”
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. However, as even the American Civil Liberties Union noted, “There is nothing [in ATF or OMB's website links addressing the change in policy] that supports the requirement that ATF collect race-based information. The OMB guidance merely describes what categories of race should look like if information is collected."
The reintroduction of the FIREARM Act follows the success of the NRA Convention in Nashville, Tennessee which Congressman Black attended. The bill is supported by the NRA and endorsed by Gun Owners of America.
FIREARM Act Bill Text