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.
Why does the FBI need that with the background check? They already get to approve every legal firearms purchase.
Any record of a legal NICS transaction is supposed to be destroyed within 24 hours by an Act of Congress. FFL dealers are required to keep the hard copies of the 4473 forms.
We are at war.
If you do nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear.
The Police are always right.
It's for The Children.
Do we know if this is Shumer's bill or something else? It sounds far worse than the way I've heard Shumer's bill described (basically states reporting gun crimes, not gun sales...)
"These records would be obtained from gun dealers, who are required by law to keep the gun purchase records (4473 forms)."
I don't know anything about a bill by Senator Putzhead.
can someone give me a number of terrorist attacks that have occured that could have been stopped if the FBI could have gotten the 4473?
Few care about rights anymore. The conservatives are joining the Clintonists in lock-step march to bigger and better government.
I need some help.
Here's a link to the legislation:
I cannot find the wording that is bringing up the alert. Where am I wrong or poor-sighted?
Those links are temporary. You need to backtrack to an earlier link. Check Section 215, IIRC.
And this is what the Feds already use to come knocking at your door.
I fail to see what this will prohibit other than demanding such files wholesale.
While I agree with many of them philosophically, some "conservatives" are just right-wing statists. Where did all those small government "conservatives" go?
There were never any small-government conservatives. Many if not most conservatives came from the anti-communist movements; they are basically Nixonian big-government types. They oppose big government when people like Clinton are in power; but now they approve.
Note how many support government fishing expeditions for gun licenses, forcing people to have identification to ride a bus, requiring you to give ID to police with no probable cause, etc.
The "conservatives" did oppose Clinton's "know your customer" banking regulations but then jumped all over themselves to support Andrew Young's and Gary Hart's Patriot Act which imposed even more requirements on banks.
The US has become very European, rather than Republicans and Democrats we have the Christian Socialists and the Social Democrats.
Go back to the link in comment 10 and enter into "Thomas":
firearms sales records
Click on [H.R.3199.EAS]
then click on SEC. 7. PATRIOT SECTION 215; PROCEDURAL PROTECTIONS FOR COURT ORDERS TO PRODUCE RECORDS AND OTHER ITEMS IN INTELLIGENCE INVESTIGATIONS.
You'll find the following:
(2) by adding at the end the following:
`(3) No application shall be made under this section for an order requiring the production of library circulation records , library patron lists, book sales records , book customer lists, firearms sales records , or medical records containing personally identifiable information without the prior written approval of the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Director may delegate authority to approve such an application to the Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, but such authority may not be further delegated.'.
`(3) the total number of applications made for orders approving requests for the production of tangible things under section 501, and the total number of orders either granted, modified, or denied, when the application or order involved any of the following:
`(A) The production of tangible things from a library, as defined in section 213(2) of the Library Services and Technology Act (20 U.S.C. 9122(2)).
`(B) The production of tangible things from a person or entity primarily engaged in the sale, rental, or delivery of books, journals, magazines, or other similar forms of communication whether in print or digitally.
`(C) The production of records related to the purchase of a firearm, as defined in section 921(a)(3) of title 18, United States Code.
My Rep and Senators don't care.
Did you see this one...?
"The US has become very European, rather than Republicans and Democrats we have the Christian Socialists and the Social Democrats."
Thanks for the ping!