I agree. I don’t think it unreasonable to assume that a record, electronic or otherwise is created and is kept, regardless of law. However, on the other hand, the admin process for tracing firearms begins with a serial numbered weapon recovered somewhere along the way (crime scene etc) then the manufacturers records indicate to whom it was shipped (distributor) then those records indicate which FFL bought it and the ATFE (which should, by the way, be a convience store) contacts the FFL (if still in business) and the bound book entry indicates when it was sold at retail or otherwise disposed of, then the form 4473 filed by month and year reflects the original retail purchaser. If the FFL is defunct, then the ATFE has to search the 4473s in gov storage, so yes, eventually all 4473s unless destroyed by other unplanned circumstances, wind up in the hands of the federales....
Buying privately is a good idea.
Anyway, that is how the lawful trace system works. They goota have the gun (with serial #) to start with.
I have made 10 AR-15s from “80%” receivers with no serial numbers.
I am not particularly skilled with tools. Very easy.
I heard a sheriff in the state of Florida talk about this very issue a few months ago, responding to a concerned email writer who basically said the same thing you are saying.
Apparently some states handle their NCIS checks exactly as if they were background checks resulting from a traffic stop, so the federal government doesn’t get information to alert them that its anything other than a traffic stop or some other type of check. I can’t provide you any more proof than what this sheriff said. But there was a firearms dealer who spoke after the sheriff who said the same thing.