Last year, we traveled all around the country talking with gun owners, gun dealers, firearms manufacturers, and law enforcement officials to find out what they thought about the GunClear concept.
One particular conversation stood out among the rest. We call it “the perfect storm.”
We were talking to an educated and affluent individual who has purchased about 20 firearms in a number of different states across the country. We quickly found out that this individual serves as an incredible example of all the problems that exist today when it comes to sophisticated and responsible gun owners tracking firearm histories—and why solutions are needed.
During our conversation, we found out the individual sold or traded a gun once. We also found out they bought firearms from a myriad of dealers—everything from large-scale businesses like Cabela’s and smaller private dealers with FFLs to gun show dealers and even bait and tackle stores that also sell firearms. The person even acquired a few guns from folks closely tied to the law enforcement community known from pre-existing relationships.
Despite the fact that there are so many different sellers and transactions, the individual said that they only purchased used firearms from people they already knew—thus eliminating their concerns about purchasing a used gun. Though the individual had several firearms and suppressors—and even a gun trust—they had no idea where the relevant paperwork was for any of their guns. The person, like so many other Americans, had no method for managing or organizing compliance paperwork: “I don’t have any” is the direct quote.
Since they didn’t know where any paperwork was, can we really be sure the person could keep track of all 20 firearms? We asked this person whether they were ever concerned about buying a stolen gun on the secondary market. “Not until you brought that to my attention!”
All of a sudden, it became a major concern. They recounted an experience where someone tried to selling them a fully automatic assault rifle with no paperwork. We then asked whether the individual was concerned about where a gun they bought, lost, or had stolen is now. They responded with a confounding yes!
Next, we asked the gun owner—like we ask everyone we talk with—to elaborate on their experiences involving firearm transactions, sales and compliance. They provided the response we’ve heard over and over again all across the country: The process is incredibly time-consuming—and essentially broken.
The individual claimed that it was ridiculous that it took two years to get two suppressors as well as a gun trust that they don’t even really know what’s in because all the sensitive paperwork was inside a vehicle that was stolen. Finally, the individual claims that—all this being said—they don’t stand a chance of being held accountable for their compliance paperwork with any method of organization short of a secure and self-sovereign digital solution.