The Dirty Little Secret
By RU Fan Alex
The following is for informational purposes only. All information is from official ATF and Government sources, training from legal advisors in firearms law, and extensive personal work experience in retail firearm sales.
Every day I read something online or hear someone voice an opinion that is incorrect about the purchase or sale of firearms. After every tragic shooting the anti-gun community demands more restrictive laws on firearms. More often than not an “expert” is brought on a news channel to discuss how more regulation and law writing will fix all of our problems.
Most people do not know the extent of the current laws or the shortcomings of the government to enforce the laws that are already in place. I am going to tell you about the issue of mental illness and tell you about a form you may not know exists, but might have your name on it.
Mental Illness or Instability
This is probably the one that gets the most exposure. Most news sources claim that there is nothing stopping mentally unstable or “crazies” from getting their hands on firearms. That is both right and wrong.
On the form that you must fill out any time you buy a gun from a licensed gun dealer there are a series of questions. They ask everything from your citizenship status to whether or not you are a fugitive. All of these questions have a simple “YES” or “NO” answer box. The majority of people think that this information is verified with the background check. That is incorrect. The background only covers past CRIMINAL history, not mental.
One of these questions (#11.f) asks whether or not you have ever been deemed “mentally defective” by a legal authority, which is defined as you being a danger to others, yourself, or are incompetent to manage your own affairs.
As the article “Mental Health Background Checks” mentioned, patient doctor confidentiality is a big deal, which is good. However, when someone is asked this question on the purchase form, the honor system is the primary means for verification. So if Crazy Steve wants to buy a gun, but just got out of a mental hospital that he was sent to for trying to hang his family from the rafters, he can just lie and get away with it.
Now, this law does get a couple things right. It does not apply if you decide to seek help voluntarily. It is also set aside if you are judged to be mentally defective or committed to an institution by the Federal government and then released from treatment, or no longer suffer from the condition that originally put you there. This provision mainly applies to those that may have Post Traumatic Stress. Rather than have their rights limited as if they were schizophrenic, they undergo treatment and are cleared.
The ATF’s Dirty Secret
Picture this: you go into a gun store to buy the newest target pistol on the market. While you are there you see that new revolver you saw in your favorite gun magazine, and it is on sale.
You decide to get both and begin to fill out the form. You present your lawfully acquired concealed weapons permit and take both guns home that day. After you leave, the salesman you dealt with takes out another form and begins to fill it out. This form is called ATF-Form 3310.4 “Report of Multiple Sale or Other Disposition of Pistols and Revolvers,” otherwise known as a multiform. This form is required to be filled out by the gun store every time one person buys two or more pistols or revolvers (including a combination of the two) WITHIN 5 BUSINESS DAYS. This means if you purchase a pistol on Thursday, and a new revolver the following Wednesday, that form is supposed to be sent directly to the ATF. If you live in Arizona, Texas, California, or New Mexico this also applies to many rifles.
Included on this form is your name, address, race, DL/ID number, birth date, sex, and the make/model/serial number of every handgun you purchased from that gun store in the past 5 days. This form is faxed or mailed straight to the ATF by the close of the business day.
Sounds an awful lot like gun registration doesn’t it? That’s because it is. Most gun shops will not fill out this form in front of you, because they do not want to lose the sale. However trustworthy you may think the gun shop is, they are not going to risk their business being shut down for your sense of privacy. If you have ever bought more than one handgun at a time, the ATF knows all about it. Next time you are in a gun shop ask them about it; if they are a successful store, they should know all about the multiforms.
Before you think “well I’ll just deal with a different person every time,” remember, most successful stores have someone whose job is ATF compliance. They make sure that every single form is filled out properly and stored and/or sent off on time.
One of the biggest fears—and rightfully so—of freedom loving Americans is the notion of a national gun registry. And while anti-gun legislators assure the pro-Second Amendment crowd that national registry is not their goal, the simple fact is that it’s already here. The regular practices of the ATF show that very clearly.
Stay informed about the laws changing around you. You would be surprised how fast the little ones can change our world.