The Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee (GATA) and other advocates–who argue the quantity of gold held by the world’s central banks, international bullion banks, and future exchanges is overstated–are backing a petition demanding an assayed public audit of the U.S. gold reserve, published Wednesday on the White House petitions website.

The petition reads: “As of 12/31/2012, the US Treasury claims to hold 261 million ounces of gold at Denver, Fort Knox, West Point and at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. This bullion was last subjected to a full physical audit in 1953.”

“The gold bars need to be assayed and weighed,” the petition advocates. “Once the gold is verified the paper trail must be audited to determine who really owns the gold; i.e. how much has been loaned to bankers and dealers and sold or swapped to non-Treasury entities including foreign governments.”

“The audit must include professional auditors outside of the Mint, Treasury, GAO, Inspector General and the Federal Reserve System,” the petition concludes.

If 25,000 people electronically sign the petition, the White House must forward it to policy experts for review and to make a public statement about the petition. However, as of late Thursday, the petition had only garnered 331 signatures.

In an article published on the GATA website, Secretary/Treasurer Chris Powell remarked, “Of course the U.S. government may be less likely to tell the truth about its gold than to declare signers of the petition to be terrorists and to send rocket-firing drone aircraft after them or have them hauled off to the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, outside the jurisdiction of the federal courts and beyond any claim of habeas corpus.”

“But it’s a risk we have to take and if enough people sign and the petition has to be answered, clamor about the gold issue will increase,” Powell advised.