Professor Kristin Goss was quoted multiple times in a fact-check on a statement from Gun Owners of America in USA Today on the number of firearm records the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) manages.
She clarifies that the ATF maintains information from “out-of-date gun dealers” and that they have a targeted purpose: helping with investigations. Speaking to the records’ lack of searchability and restricted use, her expertise helps combat the idea that this data is the “next step towards gun confiscation.”
“While dealers are normally the custodians of these records, when dealers shut down, ATF becomes the custodian by default – and by law,” Kristin Goss, professor of public policy and political science at Duke University, said in an email. “These records allow guns used in crime to be traced to the original point of sale, facilitating law enforcement investigations.”
“I have seen no credible information that ATF is using the out-of-business records except for the intended, legal purpose of aiding in specific gun-trace requests associated with specific criminal investigations,” she said.
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Kristin Goss is a political scientist who is currently the Kevin D. Gorter Professor of Public Policy and Political Science in the Sanford School of Public Policy