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View Full Version : How long do DROS checks stay on record?


PanzerMK7
08-08-2010, 7:43 PM
When I do my DROS check, and I get my gun, how long does a record of that transaction get maintained by the DOJ or any other government body? What about the dealer? And is there any way for the DOJ to track down what dealer I purchased a gun from months or years after the fact by using the serial number?

microstencil
08-08-2010, 7:46 PM
I am not sure of what the law states but I was at the San Diego County Sheriffs office a few weeks ago and they had records of guns I bought well over 15 years ago.

PolishMike
08-08-2010, 7:47 PM
Atf does traces. That paperwork is kept for 20 years. State paperwork is kept 5 or 3,don't remember at the moment but i've never seen them do a trace

PanzerMK7
08-08-2010, 8:00 PM
Atf does traces. That paperwork is kept for 20 years. State paperwork is kept 5 or 3,don't remember at the moment but i've never seen them do a trace

To clarify, you've never seen CA authorities trace a firearm back to the dealer it was sold by, are you in a line of work or other position where you feel confident in saying it is an uncommon thing for them to do?

thayne
08-08-2010, 8:28 PM
I thought they couldnt keep the records longer than 30 days?

M. D. Van Norman
08-08-2010, 8:43 PM
Assume that they last forever and get on with the rest of your life.

RolinCode3
08-08-2010, 8:56 PM
If you had to DROS a gun purchase (ie- in our fair state) then it is on record with DOJ. There is a sytem called AFS (or Automated Firearms System) that is a searchable database for law enforcement through CLETS that keeps record of any firearm purchased in CA or connected to criminal activites. From Wikipedia:

Automated Firearms System (AFS)
Department: Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information, California Department of Justice.
Function: Tracks the serial numbers of every firearm owned by government, observed by law enforcement, seized, destroyed, held in evidence, reported stolen, recovered, voluntarily registered, or handled by a firearms dealer (except most long guns).
Details: Data are collected from field checks of firearms.
Summary of stated purpose: Identifies lost or stolen firearms and connects firearms with persons.
Exists as of: 1990

I don't like the line that says "Data are collected from field checks of firearms." This does not mean that if you purchased your gun out of state and are UOC'ing it that they are going to put your serial number in the system if they come out to check if you are unloaded. It will however, go into the system if you are arrested or it is stolen from you or becomes an element of a crime.

From what I can remember from my police dispatching days, it only has the current information for ownership (not prior owners, or where it was purchased). If the current "owner" is a gun shop, I believe that they are listed then. I don't recall ever having to do a trace, but I would think ATF could trace it from the manufacturer to the "consumer" if CA DOJ does purge their expired records.

NaughtyMonkey
08-08-2010, 10:09 PM
I have wondered this same question before.

psango
08-08-2010, 10:26 PM
when I had my FFL I was contacted several times by ATF and DOJ regarding sales records. ATF I could understand, but DOJ already had the info in the automated firearms records. When I closed up I surrendered all of my records as required by law.

pitchbaby
08-09-2010, 1:19 AM
Assume that they last forever and get on with the rest of your life.

I'm gonna go with what he said.

PanzerMK7
08-09-2010, 4:51 AM
when I had my FFL I was contacted several times by ATF and DOJ regarding sales records. ATF I could understand, but DOJ already had the info in the automated firearms records. When I closed up I surrendered all of my records as required by law.

What was the nature of the communication? For example, Did they call and say "we have firearm "x123456" and our records indicate you sold this firearm to Mr. Smith, we need copies of all relevant paper work, etc"? Or were they just doing a mass records audit or something?

halifax
08-09-2010, 5:16 AM
In CA, handguns are registered during the DROS process; so, the information is in AFS and available to LE. Long guns would need to be traced by serial number to the purchaser by inquiries to the manufacturer, wholesaler, and dealer.

Also, firearms recovered in a crime or reported stolen are available via CLETS.

Your personal information used when you purchased your long gun was SUPPOSED to be deleted after thirty days but the state argued that it was too difficult to do that in this electronic age and won.

This is the best advice:

Originally Posted by M. D. Van Norman
Assume that they last forever and get on with the rest of your life.

KylaGWolf
08-10-2010, 2:45 AM
Rollin but it does mean if you were UOCing and while they were checking to see if your gun was unloaded and they decide to run your serial number to make sure you own that gun then guess what that number is now in their database even though they didn't have the right to even run it.

RolinCode3
08-10-2010, 3:57 AM
Rollin but it does mean if you were UOCing and while they were checking to see if your gun was unloaded and they decide to run your serial number to make sure you own that gun then guess what that number is now in their database even though they didn't have the right to even run it.

Uh, no, it doesn't. It has to be ENTERED into the database, not just RUN. RUNNING the serial number will only return registration info, not put it in the system if it's not already there. A cop on the street does not do ENTRIES into CLETS, nor are they authorized...that is either a dispatcher or a property clerk's job while they are processing paperwork. No paperwork = no ENTRY. See my post above...I spent 6 years as a police dispatcher, so I am more than familiar with CLETS and how it works.

Who says they don't have a right to run it? It's no different than running your DL when you are the passenger in a traffic stop. Do they have PC to run it? No, because they stopped the driver, not you. Now, it's different if you're not wearing your seatbelt, or they suspect you have been involved in some sort of crime, because now you have given them PC to contact you. Can they ask you to provide your DL and run it? Yes. If you get an attitude and tell them they don't have the right to run it, will that potentially cause problems for you? Oh hell yes. Why? Beacuse now the cop thinks you have something to hide.

If you want to UOC, don't get pissy that the cops come and check to make sure that your guns are unloaded and that they are registered to you...they are just doing their job. Not only are there laws regarding loaded weapons, but there are laws regarding loaning weapons too. It doesn't do the UOC movement any good when you act this way towards the cops. After all, if you have nothing to hide, what's the problem? The sooner cops get used to seeing us out on the street UOC'ing (and being friendly, even if you think they are overstepping their boundaries), the sooner they become more comfortable with people with guns, either on their hips or concealed. That's the direction we're all striving for, isn't it?

CHS
08-10-2010, 8:28 AM
ONLY handguns are entered into AFS.

DROS records are not kept longer than 30 days per California law. Many times I've seen them disappear after as little as 15.

4473's and paper copies of the DROS are generally kept by the dealer for 20 years per federal law. Note, the dealer doesn't have to keep the DROS's, but they usually just stick them with the 4473's so they are kept anyways.

jb7706
08-10-2010, 8:48 AM
ONLY handguns are entered into AFS.

DROS records are not kept longer than 30 days per California law. Many times I've seen them disappear after as little as 15.

4473's and paper copies of the DROS are generally kept by the dealer for 20 years per federal law. Note, the dealer doesn't have to keep the DROS's, but they usually just stick them with the 4473's so they are kept anyways.

DOJ is running backups of their systems on a regular basis. I believe there was either a suit filed or a bill passed that ultimately exempted DOJ electronic storage from the data destruction law as a result. Even if the records are purged from a live database they can still be recovered at some point down the road.

It would be interesting to see what the DOJ BoF data retention policy really is and see how/if they actually implement it.