One question we see a lot is “What’s the deal with the National Gun Registry?”
Well, today we’re going to answer that one, for once and for all. Or at least until something changes and we have to update this article.
Is There a National Gun Registry?
In short, no.
There is no national registry that links you to a firearm. The FBI, ATF, USPS, NSA, IRS, CIA, or Forest Service can’t just punch your name into a system and see what guns you own.
There are certain federal databases of guns, however. The ATF keeps records of stolen guns, and in some cases, guns that are used or suspected to have been used in the commission of a crime, or that are sold by vendors with a history of shoddy record keeping.
They may also track multiple sales, purchases of “large quantities” of firearms, or guns that are recorded as part of an estate sale or otherwise just noticed by law enforcement.
So, with a few exceptions there and one we’ll get to later, the federal government doesn’t really have a record of most firearms sales in a way that ties them directly to an owner, and no big list of what guns you own.
What About At the State Level?
The state level is a bit different. While the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 has some prohibitions against the establishment of a national gun registry by federal law enforcement, there are some states that have taken it upon themselves to enact some form of additional registration.
Handguns Must Be Registered
- New York
New Residents Must Report All Firearms
All “Pre-Ban” Assault Weapons Must Be Registered
- New Jersey
- New York
All Firearms Must Be Registered
- Washington DC
Be sure to check out our state gun laws page for more information on your state.
What About the National Firearms Act?
We’ve talked about the NFA in depth before, so I won’t go everything right here. However, since it’s the closest thing we have to a national gun registry, it’s worth talking about.
The NFA covers all the really fun toys like suppressors, short-barreled rifles and shotguns, and full-auto things.
These are registered to individuals, and woe is the man or woman caught by the ATF with one of the aforementioned items without the corresponding paperwork.
So, long story short, there is no national firearms database per se, but that doesn’t mean you and your guns aren’t in the system though.
In general, they’re probably not, unless you live in one of the states above, or they fall under the NFA.
Do you have any questions about the national firearms registry? What about the NFA? Let us know in the comments! Want a short barreled AR-15 without the tax stamp, check out the Best AR-15 Pistols!