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'Fast and Furious' Fallout at Your Local Gun Shop?

July 18, 2012
'Fast and Furious' Fallout at Your Local Gun Shop? - 6

Have you bought a gun at a licensed federal firearms dealer in the past week or two? If you have, you probably got as hitched up by the paperwork as I did today, as I bought a Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 in .243 for my 11-year-old son.
 
You may have noticed a change on Form 4473, the requirement of our federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms before you can legally buy a gun from a licensed dealer.
 
Now, I’m pretty used to filling out Form 4473, and I confess to a bit of a breezy attitude as I complete the paperwork. I fill out dozens of these forms every year, as I accept guns to test, and I enter a sort of muscle-memory haze as I check one box after another.
 
The first third of the form requires the most attention. It requests personal information that we’re all used to handing over: name, physical address, Social Security Number.
 
And the final third of Form 4473 is a series of boxes that require check marks—they ask such things as whether I’m a fugitive from justice, whether I’m a felon, or whether I’ve been declared mentally incompetent. Things like that.
 
It’s the middle of the form that tripped me up today. I’m used to disclosing in Box 10.a. that my race is “White – A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.”
 
But today Sam Morehouse, the clerk at the gun counter of my local gun shop, stopped me.
 
“Don’t forget 10.a.,” he said, a couple of times since I didn’t understand him initially. “I filled out 10.a.,” I told him. “No, you filled out 10.b.,” Sam said. “There’s a new 10.a.”
 
Sam pointed to the form, and there, tucked in the race section was indeed an additional question. It regards ethnicity. There were two boxes to check. Either I am “Hispanic or Latino” or I am “Not Hispanic or Latino.”
 
I filled out the new section, completed the form, and walked out of the store with a brand new Weatherby. I can’t wait to work with my boy to sight it in, and use it for his first deer season this fall.
 
But the new question on Form 4473 made me wonder. What’s the reason for the query? Is it a consequence of the ATF’s botched gun tracing program, dubbed “Fast and Furious” that allowed firearms from the U.S. to reach Mexican drug cartels, where some were used to kill a Border Patrol agent in 2010? Is the ATF trying to get a better handle on which (legal) guns go to buyers of Hispanic origin?
 
I don’t know, but even after trolling around the ATF’s official web site, where the changes to Form 4473 were discussed, I don’t fully understand the change.
 
Just beware if you are in the market for a new gun: Don’t be too cavalier about filling out the new form, and be sure you know your ethnicity as well as you know your race.

Comments (6)

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from Mark S. Schroeder wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

On the 2010 Census on questions 8 & 9 (I believe) I filled in "Other" where I wrote; Human Being. What does a persons skin color or ethnicity have to do with anything at all? Unless one is bias in some manner.

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from kbrownfox wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

Actually this has nothing to do with Fast and Furious. It's a change to conform to federal OMB standards for classification of race and ethnicity. It applies anytime race data is required by feds.

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from 6phunter wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

what about people from mixed heritage,how are they supposed to respond?GUESS IT ALL STARTS AT THE TOP,

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from charlie elk wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

Smacks of a little racial profiling there don't you think?
Gotta love the government their solution to every real world problem is more paperwork or more questions on said paperwork or both.
later,
charlie

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from DSMbirddog wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

More useless data collected by a Federal bureaucracy. The only time you will see any of it used is to slant things in a news story or to support a regulatory change made by the BATF. The BATF needs to be reigned in and monitored more closely. The POTUS seems incapable of controlling most Federal agencies lately.

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from huntfishtrap wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

I would just write-in "alien"...lol

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from huntfishtrap wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

I would just write-in "alien"...lol

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from charlie elk wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

Smacks of a little racial profiling there don't you think?
Gotta love the government their solution to every real world problem is more paperwork or more questions on said paperwork or both.
later,
charlie

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from 6phunter wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

what about people from mixed heritage,how are they supposed to respond?GUESS IT ALL STARTS AT THE TOP,

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from DSMbirddog wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

More useless data collected by a Federal bureaucracy. The only time you will see any of it used is to slant things in a news story or to support a regulatory change made by the BATF. The BATF needs to be reigned in and monitored more closely. The POTUS seems incapable of controlling most Federal agencies lately.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark S. Schroeder wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

On the 2010 Census on questions 8 & 9 (I believe) I filled in "Other" where I wrote; Human Being. What does a persons skin color or ethnicity have to do with anything at all? Unless one is bias in some manner.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from kbrownfox wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

Actually this has nothing to do with Fast and Furious. It's a change to conform to federal OMB standards for classification of race and ethnicity. It applies anytime race data is required by feds.

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