Blunt demands explanation on ATF race questions

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.)  demanded answers regarding reports that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is forcing Americans to declare their race and ethnicity when purchasing a firearm in a letter sent to the Obama administration on Friday. 

“The constitutional right of a citizen to own a firearm has nothing to do with race or ethnicity,” Blunt, who co-chairs the Senate Law Enforcement Caucus, wrote. “It is disconcerting that the U.S. government is gathering this type of data on citizens when there is no connection between purchasing a firearm and an individual’s race or ethnicity.”

According to a news report earlier in the week, the ATF in 2012 amended its Form 4473, the transactional record the government requires gun purchasers and sellers to fill out when buying a firearm, to identify buyers as either Hispanic, Latino or not. Then a buyer must check his or her race: Indian, Asian, black, Pacific Islander or white.

 “Question 10 was revised due to an Office of Management and Budget requirement that every form issued by the federal government that collects race and ethnicity information must use separate questions wherever feasible for reporting race and ethnicity,” the ATF said in previous news reports.