Skip to comments.Battle Resumes Over FBI Fishing Expeditions Into Gun Records - Contact your Rep. and Senators
Posted on 12/07/2005 11:29:04 AM PST by neverdem
Tuesday, December 6, 2005
House and Senate negotiators are reportedly close to hammering out differences on legislation that could greatly impact gun owners.
You will remember that before the Thanksgiving break, legislators were trying to ram PATRIOT Act revisions through the Congress and onto the Presidents desk.
Some of these revisions would improve the PATRIOT Act... some would not.
Of greatest concern to gun owners is a provision in H.R. 3199 that would allow the FBI to obtain "firearms sales records."
The bill extends Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act and allows agents of the federal government to get "firearms sales records" which, in their opinion, are relevant to investigating terrorism.
These records would be obtained from gun dealers, who are required by law to keep the gun purchase records (4473 forms). Thus, an anti-gun administration could then easily compile gun owner registration lists -- an enterprise which has often been a prelude to gun confiscation.
Of course, more than just your gun purchase records are at stake. Financial and medical records, library records and much more are also open to FBI fishing expeditions. They don't have to get any prior approval from any court.
This has led to concerns that the FBI is already infringing upon the rights of law-abiding Americans.
Consider that the FBI -- because of a Freedom of Information Act request -- recently revealed that the amount of information that the agency has gleaned on private citizens has exploded since the passage of the original PATRIOT Act in 2001.
The FBI has issued about 30,000 "national security letters" (NSLs) per year since the Act passed -- NSLs referring to a kind of administrative subpoena power where the FBI can get private records on individuals without a court order.
Such power has led to tremendous violations already. According to The Washington Post, there have been several violations that are "serious enough that the FBI itself determined they must be reported to an executive branch agency called the Intelligence Oversight Board."
Clearly, there is a thirst in Washington for obtaining records on private individuals. And that is why we do NOT want the FBI soliciting information on gun owners from 4473 forms. The stakes are high in regard to passage of H.R. 3199.
The House-Senate agreement on the bill seemed to be a done deal last month, until outside groups (including GOA) and Republican Senators (like Larry Craig of Idaho) issued statements of opposition to the latest version of the bill.
The several dozen organizations that have expressed concern over the bill span the political spectrum, and include groups such as the American Conservative Union, Gun Owners of America and Patriots to Restore Checks and Balances (which is headed by former Rep. Bob Barr).
In all, there are six Senators who have threatened to lead a filibuster on the bill. Three are Democrats; three are Republicans.
Right now, this is an issue that is of utmost priority in the Congress. "The Patriot Act is something that we are spending a lot of time on right now," said Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist last week. "Our objective is to complete that... as soon as possible."
This bill is clearly on the fast track. It is rumored on Capitol Hill that negotiators are nearing a deal on H.R. 3199. You can greatly help by making them aware that gun owners are closely watching what they do on the subject of "firearms sales records."
ACTION: Please ask your Representative and Senators to ensure that the words "firearms sales records" are deleted from the warrantless records provisions of H.R. 3199.
You can visit the Gun Owners Legislative Action Center at http://www.gunowners.org/activism.htm to send your Representative and Senators a pre-written e-mail message such as the one below.
Dear Representative / Senator:
Gun owners are very concerned about a specific provision in the PATRIOT Act expansion bill (H.R. 3199), as it would allow the United States government to seize every lawful gun sale record in the country... solely on the basis of a bureaucrat's determination that a national registry of gun owners would be useful in an anti-terrorism investigation.
H.R. 3199 extends Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, which allows agents of the federal government to get "firearms sales records" which, in their opinion, are relevant to investigating terrorism. FFL holders must retain copies of the 4473 forms (yellow sheets) filled out on every gun sale. Thus, an anti-gun administration could easily determine that such records would be useful in the fight against terrorism, and demand them all.
Even more ominous, the gun dealers would be required NOT to disclose the existence of the investigation to their customers, meaning that the dealer (rather than the gun purchaser) would be the only person who could contest this action. And why should he risk his livelihood on my behalf? This is massive gun control by simple executive fiat.
There is an illusory right to challenge the secrecy of the court orders, but it's just that... an illusion. If the government claims there is a national security issue at stake or that there's an ongoing criminal investigation, then the FBI's fishing expedition could remain a secret and remain unchallenged.
Right now, there is debate over whether to sunset the provisions in Section 215 -- and how soon that sunset should "kick in." Regardless, "firearms sales records" need to be deleted from the warrantless records provisions of H.R. 3199, as they are an unconstitutional infringement upon the privacy of America's gun owners.
I believe that a national gun registry is a step this country cannot afford to take, and one that the citizenry will not abide.
I would ask you, in the strongest terms, to ensure that "firearms sales records" are deleted from the warrantless records provisions of H.R. 3199. Thank you.
A New Jersey man accused with using a laser to beam pilots of two planes has been charged under the Patriot Act. The FBI has acknowledged that the incident does not have any relation to terrorism but called David Banach's actions "foolhardy and negligent."
"An analysis of the Justice Department's own list of terrorism prosecutions by The Washington Post shows that 39 people, not 200, as officials have implied, were convicted of crimes related to terrorism or national security."
Treasury Department figures reviewed by Newsweek show that this year the Feds have used the Patriot Act to conduct searches on 962 suspects, yielding "hits" on 6,397 financial records. Of those, two thirds (4,261) were in money-laundering cases with no terror connection. Among the agencies making requests, Newsweek has learned, were the IRS (which investigates tax fraud), the Postal Service (postal fraud) and the Secret Service counterfeiting). One request came from the Agriculture Department -- a case that apparently involved food stamp fraud.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri filed an action against PayPal for violating the PATRIOT Act (18 U.S.C. 1960), based on PayPal's use in processing funds transfered for online gambling."
There are other troublesome aspects of The Patriot Act. Take, for example, Title III, aimed at money laundering. This became part of the Act at the insistence of Democrats that include Senators Daschle and Kerry. The Justice Department has used it to investigate corruption allegations against a Las Vegas strip club owner!
then there wasthe case that icant find a link to right now where the department of homeland security radied a mom and pop toy store in oregon and forced them to stop selling copys of knock off rubics cubes after the rubiks company called them even though thier patent ran out in 1995
"Please list for me three concrete real examples of where the Patriot act has been used to deprive US Citizens of their rights."
Thank you, freepatriot32. I have 1 bookmark for 2 reasons.
My legislators have been notified ~ Bump!
The Rubik's Cube case does appear to be a case of government (DHS) overreach, but not necessarily Patriot Act.
The original story is no longer up at Yahoo, but judging from this left wing blog post ( http://interestingtimes.blogspot.com/archives/2004_10_24_interestingtimes_archive.html ) it began like this:
"ST. HELENS, Ore. - So far as she knows, Pufferbelly Toys owner Stephanie Cox hasn't been passing any state secrets to sinister foreign governments, or violating obscure clauses in the Patriot Act."
Which is how people made the Patriot Act connection -- the original writer threw it in.
It does seem like these feds were way out of line, but they weren't using the Patriot Act, except maybe as a smokescreen to create some of the Nacht Und Nebel vibe they're so fond of.
I'm glad that the border is so secure that ICE can go to St. Helens, Oregon to chase obscure trademark violations... right?
Criminal Number 18F
Why do I get the feeling I will become a 'statistic'?
So right. I just saw an article, with which I agree, asserting that many conservatives are now showing that they, except for the accident of their births in the U.S., would be followers of, say, Sadaam were they born in Iraq, Stalin were they born in 1940's Russia, etc. They are statists hiding under the misnomer, "conservative."
Personally, I think the proof is asking where they were when all the media were liberal and when the House and Senate were Democrat, i.e., when it was unpopular and lonely to be unabashedly conservative. Most of the ones I'm talking about were under their beds.
I would post that article, but you know how long it--and I--would last.
Anyway, thanks for continuing to point that out.
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