Public Firearms Records Information
The debate still rages on about the issue of making public the personal information contained in firearms records and hunting license records. There are many individuals who believe that their right to hold a firearm ensures the privacy of their private information disclosed at the time of purchase. On the other hand, some individuals and state agencies believe that decreasing crime levels and preventing unlawful and indiscriminate killing of wildlife assumes more importance than protecting the privacy of individuals and so firearms and hunting license records should be made publicly available.
Public Firearms Records
The federal policies adopted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) aim to strike a compromise between the two strong opinions—regulating the firearms industry so that the levels of crime are within check and ensuring the privacy of individuals owning firearms. Thus public firearms records are maintained by the ATF but the personal information contained in them is not generally available for public viewing. The ATF is forbidden by law to share firearms records unless the information is required to aid some purpose of an on-going criminal investigation procedure.
The Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act of 1993 makes it mandatory for Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) to conduct background checks on individuals seeking to buy firearms to determine if the firearm can be transferred to them. This background check is done at the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). As per the rules of the Brady law, the results of these searches get listed in the public firearms records, but only for 24 hours, except in certain cases.
A firearms records search in most states of the United States is restricted to requesting a copy of your firearms license or a documentation of all the transactions where you are featured as a gun transferee. You can submit a request to search firearms records to obtain these copies at the office of public safety of your respective state or file a request online.
If an individual wishes to buy firearms and also ensure that his/her personal details do not get listed in the public firearms records, s/he can buy the product from a secondary market, like a swap meet or a gun show.
Public Hunting License Records
Data shows that in many US states, hunting is the principal reason for people owning shotguns and rifles. Yet there is considerably less number of people who own a hunting license. Thus it is important that hunting license records be maintained meticulously.
There are many commercial web sites where you can search public hunting license records. These records are also available with the respective state wildlife or game departments and it is a good idea to source your records through government agencies.
A hunting license record contains the name of the licensee, his/her address, date of birth, and information on the status of the license, that is, whether it is valid or not. You can submit a request to obtain a copy of your hunting license record at the office or file a request online. If you are a law enforcement officer, you might need to conduct a public hunting license records search to check if a suspected individual is hunting with an expired or suspended license.