Question 10 on the newly revised (July 9, 2012) firearms purchase background check form includes the following:

* A: “Ethnicity” (choose one): Hispanic or Latino or Not Hispanic or Latino.

* B: “Race” (select one or more): American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, White.

This form is the “4473,” which is filled out under penalty of perjury, by someone wishing to purchase a firearm from a federally licensed firearms dealer. The dealer provides this information to the FBI National Instant Check System (NICS) for review. An NICS associate does a database background check, and, based on findings, allows, delays or denies the firearms purchase.

The “4473” form is provided by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and is subject to audit by ATF.

This form, when completed, becomes a legal document and retained by the firearms dealer.

Both the FBI and ATF are fully involved in this process.

A question comes to mind with regard to this form: Are the FBI and ATF profiling Hispanics and Latinos, or are they profiling all non-Hispanics and non-Latinos?

Perhaps the Eric Holder, U.S. attorney general, knows the answer.

Michael A. Cameron

Winthrop

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