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Old April 13, 2022, 05:05 PM   #1
Bob Willman
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NYC subway shooter's firearm trace

How did the ATF trace the firearm to Frank James from 11 years ago. That data would be on a Form 4473 in the dealers notebook on his/her premises unless it had been submitted to ATF after going out of business. In that case the notebook should be on a shelf in ATF storage.
The background check data should should be long gone after 11 years.
For the ATF to find that data in less than 24 hours leads me to believe that they may not be following the rules

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Old April 13, 2022, 05:22 PM   #2
mehavey
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Better yet....

> Frank James, who was arrested for opening fire in a subway car Tuesday
> morning, used a legal handgun in the attack that injured 23 people,
> authorities said Wednesday. Despite his lengthy criminal record, James
> was able to buy the firearm because he’d never been convicted of a felony,
https://www.politico.com/news/2022/0...ecord-00025078

James' arrest history includes nine prior arrests in New York from
1992 and 1998, including for criminal sex act, four instances of
possession of burglary tools and two instances of theft of service.
He was also arrested at least three times in New Jersey in 1991,
1992 and 2007, for trespassing, larceny and disorderly conduct,

All the "gun law/background checks" in the world can't fulfill the social contract (much less protect you) if the 'Justice System' won't fulfill its end of the bargain.
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Old April 13, 2022, 05:23 PM   #3
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I'm sure they're following "the rules".

what I'm not sure of is who's rules they are following.
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Old April 14, 2022, 10:17 AM   #4
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So true, mehavey. All, or most, of those arrests should have resulted in felony convictions...which would have disqualified him from possessing (much less purchasing) a firearm.
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Old April 14, 2022, 12:23 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mehavey
James' arrest history includes nine prior arrests in New York from
1992 and 1998, including for criminal sex act, four instances of
possession of burglary tools and two instances of theft of service.
He was also arrested at least three times in New Jersey in 1991,
1992 and 2007, for trespassing, larceny and disorderly conduct,
In other words, he is a pillar of modern society.

Sadly, even had he been convicted of at least one disqualifying charge, as long as he wasn't in prison it would not have stopped him from purchasing a firearm on a dark street corner late at night. My answer to that isn't popular with the SJWs -- we need to put people like him behind bars, for long periods of time. The concept of concurrent sentences for convictions on multiple charges makes a mockery out of the sentences. Commit four crimes, each of which carries a ten-year sentence? You get 40 years, not four 10-year sentences served concurrently.

And then there are those who argue that keeping all those criminals in prison would cost too much. Well, maybe if our prisons weren't country clubs it wouldn't have to cost so much. Prison isn't supposed to be a nice place. Make prisons less nice and maybe at least some criminals wouldn't view short sentences as just one of the costs of doing business.
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Old April 14, 2022, 01:08 PM   #6
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Arrests don't disqualify a person from possessing firearms. Convictions do.

Multiple arrests over time certainly do paint a picture of a person's behavior, BUT what matters more is what they were convicted of.

Sadly, there are people walking around out there with long histories of arrests and no disqualifying convictions.

And, of course this doesn't count those who have been convicted, and prohibited illegally getting guns from illegal criminal sources.
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Old April 15, 2022, 11:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Frank James, who was arrested for opening fire in a subway car Tuesday
> morning, used a legal handgun in the attack that injured 23 people,
> authorities said Wednesday. Despite his lengthy criminal record, James
> was able to buy the firearm because he’d never been convicted of a felony,
https://www.politico.com/news/2022/0...ecord-00025078
We are going to see this problem come up 10 fold in the near future . With all these states/county's de-criminalizing so many offenses or simply no longer trying to catch the "bad" guys . It's inevitable these bad guys will have records or at least multiple encounters with law enforcement with out any circumstances . Then later be involved in worse crimes as they push the "new" boundaries .

Example :

Just a few days ago me and my neighbor found a burglar in his house in the middle of the day . He was going through his tool bags when we caught him . We started loudly encouraging him to leave the house which he did very slowly but then he slowly gathered his things in the yard while I called 911 .

Even though I was literally talking with the dispatcher he was in no hurry . He asked me if I was calling the police and I said yes , he smiled and said I'll be long gone before they get here . all that while the dispatcher is asking the same questions multiple times like does he have a weapon , not that I see . Is he on drugs , I don't know , what's the address ? To the point of the guy riding off on his bike while I'm still on the phone with 911 as I tell her what direction he traveled . She then said she will let officers in the area know .

But wait there's more , the cops never come to take statements or get video from our security cameras nothing . NO NO wait there's more . The guy comes back later that night and steals a $1000 paint sprayer from my back yard which I did not notice until after the fact unpon reviewing my videos before going to sleep .

I call the police again and said the guy had come back and now has stolen items from my yard . I then asked what ever happened/came of the first call of the burglary . She put me on hold then comes back and says the first call was logged that I just called to let them no and I/we did not want the police to come out I went ballistic !!! Are you telling me when a citizen calls the police about an active burglary with the burglar still on the property . You just figure the citizen is just giving you a FYI call .

So I say now he's been back and stole things from me , so 8 hrs ago he broke into a home next door then returns and steals things from my property and I/we have video evidence . Can you please send a officer to check the area and take a statement and download the video/s . They say yes but don't know when they can get here . I waited up until 6;30 in the morning (7hrs ) and the police never came

NNNNNOOOOOOOO WAIT THERE"S MORE !!!!!! They guy came back 1hr after I fell asleep 7:30am fully light out looking around my yard again for what appeared to be something he may have left .

FWIW it's been 3/4 days and nobody has came to take a report or even ask questions Nothing !

This guy clearly knew the cops were not going to do a thing and kept pushing the boundary's . It's only a matter of time he either does something really bad or does something to a person that is not going to be as "forgiving" as I was and very bad things are likely going to happen . Which in CA means the victim will likely be the one going to jail because the police did not get this guy off the streets when they could . I mean literally there is NOTHING showing this person did any of what he has done to me and my neighbor so even if he does gets stopped for J walking there is nothing giving any reason the police should detain him .

This is crazy , and if this is how the cities and counties are going to conduct there policing we are in for A LOT more bad guys doing things and it coming out they were well known to the police or the community in general . Leading to the questions we all have with the subway guy which is why was he able to do what he was able to do . Either buy guns or in some cases why are they even on the streets at all .
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Last edited by Metal god; April 15, 2022 at 11:11 PM.
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Old April 16, 2022, 01:38 AM   #8
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To answer the original question, firearms are traced as follows.

1. LE looks at the firearm type and serial number and contacts the manufacturer.
2. The manufacturer consults their record and tells LE where they sent the firearm.
3. LE contacts the next entity in the chain and asks them to provide information on what they did with the firearm.

The process continues until the chain is broken--for example, a person buys the gun in question and sells it in a private sale without keeping records--or until they find the current owner of the firearm.

In some cases, the records may be held by the BATF. 4473 forms from FFLs that have gone out of business, are kept on record at the BATF. The BATF can consult those forms, but they are not allowed to compile them into a SEARCHABLE database. That means, for example, that they can store them in digital form but they can't enter the information into a database that they could search.

The process is called a reverse trace and it can work sometimes. Other times it will reach a dead end.
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Old April 16, 2022, 02:47 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by John KSa
In some cases, the records may be held by the BATF. 4473 forms from FFLs that have gone out of business, are kept on record at the BATF. The BATF can consult those forms, but they are not allowed to compile them into a SEARCHABLE database. That means, for example, that they can store them in digital form but they can't enter the information into a database that they could search.
Which, of course, is a joke. I'm not a computer whiz by any stretch of the imagination, but what digital format could they possibly store it in that's not searchable? Excel files are searchable. Word files are searchable. I'm pretty certain that if they just entered the data in plain .TXT format using Notepad you could still search it by using the search function in Windows file explorer.
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Old April 16, 2022, 07:43 AM   #10
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The 4473a are simply scanned

If you scan an ordinary pdf, the 'typed' text is immediately searchable in the doc.
Combine that w/ the fact that handwriting has been interpretable by post office machine for decades.
That pretty much spells (pun intended) the end for non-searchable file storage.

Congressional hearing on that topic might be entertaining as to legal intent vs reality....
But not with this Congress, this day, this whipped up anti-2A populace.
The legal end-around ability would be praised to high heaven.
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Old April 16, 2022, 10:25 AM   #11
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Quote:
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The 4473a are simply scanned
:doh:

Of course. I knew that, I was just testing you.

In the municipal office where I work, we scan in copies of building plans every day.
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Old April 16, 2022, 12:20 PM   #12
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old joke...
Guy looks out his bedroom window, sees a couple guys trying to break into his garage. Calls the cops. Dispatcher tells him cops are 20 minutes away.

He hangs up. Waits 3 minutes, call dispatcher again, tells her, no rush, he just shot them.

Three minutes later, half a dozen cop cars come screaming into his yard, and happen to catch the bad guys in the act.

Cop talks to homeowner, says "Dispatch said you shot them!!"
Homeowner replies, straight faced "Dispatch said you were 20 minutes away!"

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Old April 16, 2022, 12:28 PM   #13
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I'm not a computer whiz by any stretch of the imagination, but what digital format could they possibly store it in that's not searchable?
That's what "encryption" is all about. Simple encryption would unlock the whole database, but if each entry or subset of entries had it's own encryption, the whole database is not searchable without knowing all the decryption keys (passwords.)

Of course, you can have mathematical generation of passwords that are impossible in practice to break, unless you have the password to the password generator. You can layer the security up as much as you like.
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Old April 16, 2022, 02:10 PM   #14
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I'm quite certain that the BATFE is not encrypting scanned 4473s.
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Old April 16, 2022, 02:33 PM   #15
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I'm not a computer whiz by any stretch of the imagination, but what digital format could they possibly store it in that's not searchable?
There are various ways--the simplest way would be to just scan it in as an image without running an OCR on it.
Quote:
Which, of course, is a joke.
They were caught breaking the rule awhile back and were forced to change their methods and delete the material that was in violation. I kind of doubt that either they or the folks who caught them and made them comply felt it was a joke.
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Old April 16, 2022, 02:59 PM   #16
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The ATF has been digitizing their 4473s for years. The searchability is "ONLY" a by-product of the process.
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Old April 16, 2022, 03:15 PM   #17
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This is kind of an interesting topic for me.

The pro-gunners are sure the BATF is cheating and creating a searchable database.

The anti-gunners are incensed that the BATF is prevented from creating a searchable database.

https://www.thetrace.org/2016/08/atf...ble-databases/

By the way, it was the GAO that caught the BATF breaking the rules and forced them to delete over 250 million records.
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Old April 16, 2022, 03:47 PM   #18
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There's an irony here. Around the time this country was founded, the Congress enacted a couple of laws called the Militia Acts. Adult males were required to register with the militia in their town or county (don't recall just how they were organized). The reason was so that militia commanders would know how many men they had available in time of need. As for firearms, they weren't registered BUT each militia member was required to provide his own rifle, and a basic load-out of twenty round balls and a quarter pound of powder.

https://www.mountvernon.org/educatio...a-act-of-1792/

I have long been of the mindset that I wouldn't object in the slightest to registering my firearms if the purpose was to let the local police department or the state's national guard know that I'm here and available if/when needed. But I can't think of any governmental jurisdiction in the U.S. today that wants a registry for that purpose. They want to know where the guns are so they can come get them when they're ready.

If that makes me a conspiracy theorist, so be it.
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Old April 16, 2022, 04:16 PM   #19
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This is kind of an interesting topic for me.

The pro-gunners are sure the BATF is cheating and creating a searchable database.

The anti-gunners are incensed that the BATF is prevented from creating a searchable database.
Interesting ? I think funny or naive may be better . Maybe a joke is better , both sides always use what ever they can to convince . Remember one side saying how corrupt agency XYZ was only to claim how great XYZ's investigation was in a matter they liked the outcome of

In the last 6 to 10 years and maybe forever but for sure the last 6 to 10 years I've not seen anything that would indicate the people in charge of any agency or pretty much the government in general care to follow any law or order . It seems more and more the individual/s do what they want because it's the agency that gets in trouble with no real ramification to the individual/s

To make it worse they follow the letter to the enth degree . The court " you must destroy all hard paper copies /hard drives or digital copies that have been made " . Agency brass - OK that must mean we can keep all the "scanned' ( not copies ) but rather duplicates for our records .

Anyone remember , "it was not gross negligence it was extreme disregard" ?
Then again it really depends on what the meaning of "is" is .
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Old April 16, 2022, 08:00 PM   #20
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About 15 years ago, I was in my FFL's store and he had an ATF Agent flipping thru every single page of his 4473 binders. I can't even imagine trying to look for that needle in that giant haystack back in the day!
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Old April 16, 2022, 10:00 PM   #21
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Interesting ? I think funny or naive may be better . Maybe a joke is better ,...
However you slice or dice it, in the recent past, under a Democrat president, the GAO reviewed BATF procedures, found them in violation of the law and forced them to come into compliance. Ideal would be the BATF follows the rules without being forced to--but having the system work as it should to bring them into compliance is still a win.
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Old April 16, 2022, 11:33 PM   #22
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under a Democrat president
The presidents come and go but the career government employees remain . What I was pointing out has very little to do with the president or any party IMHO . It's about power and they all want it and in many ways random guy high up in XYZ agency has more power then senators or presidents because they have access to the data and don't need the paper trail to get it .
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Old April 17, 2022, 12:02 AM   #23
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The presidents come and go but the career government employees remain . What I was pointing out has very little to do with the president or any party IMHO . It's about power and they all want it and in many ways random guy high up in XYZ agency has more power then senators or presidents because they have access to the data and don't need the paper trail to get it .
Ok, then leave out the part about the fact that even under a gun-unfriendly executive that the system was functioning as it should to keep the BATF in line. Just take it at face value.

However you slice or dice it, in the recent past, the GAO (made up of career government employees) reviewed BATF procedures, found them in violation of the law and forced the BATF to come into compliance. Ideal would be the BATF follows the rules without being forced to--but having the system work as it should to bring them into compliance is still a win.
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Old April 17, 2022, 12:40 AM   #24
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However you slice or dice it, in the recent past, the GAO (made up of career government employees) reviewed BATF procedures, found them in violation of the law and forced the BATF to come into compliance.
I did not follow this incident so I don't know all the details . Did the GAO "find" the violations or were they "presented" with evidence from out side sources or in a way they would not have otherwise found that forced them to conclude and remedy the violations ?
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Old April 17, 2022, 12:51 AM   #25
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The report says that they found the violation during a review.

But even if they had been presented with evidence from outside sources, the fact that they acted on it would still be evidence that the system is working.
Quote:
...I've not seen anything that would indicate the people in charge of any agency or pretty much the government in general care to follow any law or order .
Now you have. What's odd is that one would think you'd be happy knowing that the system is working--but you seem to want to prove that it doesn't.
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