"There's a lot of things that don't make sense in this town, you know?" Brandon tells Schlesinger. "And, so, yeah, would it be efficient and effective? Absolutely. Would the taxpayers benefit with public safety? Absolutely. Are we allowed to do it? No."That's right, Mr. Brandon, you're not allowed to have a searchable database. In fact, you have to destroy all personal information in gun checks (Brady checks) after 24 hours. That's the law.
Many folks don't remember GCA '68, or that later law that established Brady Checks, which came into existence after rigorous debate, a legislative battle, passage of both houses of Congress, and signed by President Bill Clinton. It was a hard-fought battle on both sides of the aisle, but through compromise and political wrangling both sides managed to come together. The law became effective on February 28, 1994. You can go to the link above for a full history.
The reason that the BATFE can't have a national registration scheme is because it is forbidden under the legislation that allowed them to start conducting background checks at all. I remember it well, because for the NRA and freedom-loving Americans, it was a bitter pill. We were afraid then (and with good reason) that keeping the background check information would eventually lead to a registration scheme. We're still fighting that battle today.
I remember freedom. In 1965, I walked into a gun shop (actually a gun club on an Air Force base), put my money on the counter, selected a firearm and walked out with nary a question asked. I was twelve (12) years old. Everything I did that day was perfectly legal, and absolutely illegal today. That's the danger of creeping incrementalism. That's the danger of big government. They want to keep taking, one little step at a time, until freedom ceases to exist. Like the proverbial frog in the pot, we don't realize we're being boiled until we're dead.
No, Mr. Brandon, we drew a line in the law in 1993. You can't register our guns. It's galling enough that you check us when we buy a gun, unlike that 12-year-old in 1965. You can go this far, but no farther.
Let Freedom Ring.
**Update**. Anonymous asks in comments about the gun I bought at age 12. I bought my first gun at the old McBride Rod and Gun Club, England AFB, LA. I was a "skeet boy" there on weekends, making the princely sum of 50 cents per hour, plus I got to shoot up the broken boxes of ammo at the end of the day. In early 1966, I bought a Winchester Model 1200 shotgun from that club and I paid $87.50 for it. That gun represented 175 hours of labor. In today's dollars, figure roughtly a month's pay at minimum wage.