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Report: Law Enforcement Agencies Registering Vehicle Information of Gun Show Attendees

Friday, October 7, 2016

Report: Law Enforcement Agencies Registering Vehicle Information of Gun Show Attendees

A report this week in the Wall Street Journal provides further indication of the Obama administration’s persecutory attitude toward America’s gun owners.  

The newspaper claimed emails from a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request show that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents used local police officers in Southern California to drive around the parking lot of a large gun show to “collect all of the cars’ information.”

Based on normal attendance at the show, thousands of individuals who were under no particularized suspicion were likely swept up in the surveillance dragnet. 

The article states that ICE had hatched a plan to use license plate readers (LPRs) at Southern California gun shows to compare information on vehicles parked at the shows with information on vehicles later crossing the border into Mexico.

Of course, there’s nothing inherently suspicious about attending a gun show or traveling to a neighboring country, even if one event precedes another. 

And unsurprisingly, according to the article, “There is no indication the gun-show surveillance led to any arrests or investigative leads ….”

Nevertheless, officials contacted by the Journal did not “rule out that such surveillance may have happened elsewhere.” 

What happened to the information gathered by the surveillance, and whether it remains on file with the government, is unknown.

Federal law prohibits the government from compiling a registry of firearms or their owners from certain types of specified information. Information obtained by LPRs, a relatively new technology, is not covered by these provisions. 

Use of the devices is largely unregulated, and because they capture information that individuals are exposing in public, their Fourth Amendment implications have not received the same degree of attention as the capture of information contained in ostensibly private locations or communications.

Yet the move sparked condemnation from a number of quarters, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and a company that manufactures LPR systems, whose CEO called the gun show surveillance “an abuse of the technology.” 

On Tuesday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) weighed in with his own disapproval in a letter sent to ICE’s director, Sarah R. Saldaña. “Constitutionally-protected activities should not subject gun show attendees to unwarranted and heavy-handed surveillance practices by their government,” he wrote. Chairman Goodlatte also demanded further details of the operation mentioned in the Journal article and of any similar operations. 

This is not the first time that mass surveillance of gun show attendees has made the news. Last year, we reported on a similar program proposed by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and revealed in documents obtained by an ACLU FOIA request. 

The DEA claimed that particular program never went past the proposal stage.

Whether or not that’s true, it’s clear the Obama administration is sympathetic to the idea that any gun owner, or even any person who simply attends a gun show is a potential criminal or terrorist.  

That attitude has led to other abusive tactics and proposals, from Operation Choke Point to the president’s calls for “universal” background checks.

Gun owners should take note and should be sure the officials who get their votes are committing to protecting their rights, not using the exercise of those rights to cast unwarranted suspicion or condemnation upon them.

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Saturday, April 21, 2018

Florida Alert: YETI Drops NRA Foundation

For years YETI Coolers have been a hot item for sportsmen at the Friends of NRA Foundation Banquet and Auction events around the country.  Suddenly, without prior notice, YETI has declined to do business with The ...

Dick’s Sporting Goods/Field & Stream to Destroy Firearms Inventory

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Second Amendment  

Friday, April 20, 2018

Dick’s Sporting Goods/Field & Stream to Destroy Firearms Inventory

Dick’s Sporting Goods took their campaign to alienate law-abiding gun owners to an extraordinary new level last week. The beleaguered retailer announced that in addition to removing certain types of semi-automatic rifles from their stores, the company ...

Illinois: Committee Passes Bill to Allow Local Infringement of Second Amendment

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Illinois: Committee Passes Bill to Allow Local Infringement of Second Amendment

The Illinois state Senate could vote on legislation to allow localities to infringe upon Second Amendment rights as early as today.  Senate Bill 2314 was moved to third reading after it had passed the Senate ...

Another Group of Anti-Gun Celebrities Forms!  In Other News, The Sun Rose Today.

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Second Amendment  

Friday, April 20, 2018

Another Group of Anti-Gun Celebrities Forms! In Other News, The Sun Rose Today.

In case you were worried there were not enough anti-gun organizations working to eradicate the rights of law-abiding gun owners, a new one has formed, and it’s called NoRA.  Get it?  The name implies that the ...

NRA Salutes “the Gunny” and Mourns the Passing of an American Patriot

News  

Friday, April 20, 2018

NRA Salutes “the Gunny” and Mourns the Passing of an American Patriot

America, and the NRA, lost a true friend and a staunch defender of freedom with the passing of R. Lee Ermey on April 15 from complications of pneumonia. He was 74 years old. 

Keep Calm and Carry On: Pro-Gun Sentiment Reasserts Itself in Wake of Antigun Blitz

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Second Amendment  

Friday, April 20, 2018

Keep Calm and Carry On: Pro-Gun Sentiment Reasserts Itself in Wake of Antigun Blitz

Like the long-delayed coming of spring to the Mid-Atlantic, evidence is appearing that Americans are regaining their senses and reverting to an instinctual embrace of freedom after a withering barrage of some the nastiest and most ugly ...

Bailed-out Banks Launch Coordinated Attack on Law-abiding Gun Owners

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Friday, April 13, 2018

Bailed-out Banks Launch Coordinated Attack on Law-abiding Gun Owners

There is growing evidence that some of America’s financial elite want to create a world in which America’s public policy decisions emanate from corporate boardrooms in Manhattan rather than from citizens and their elected officials.  ...

Rhode Island: 19 Gun Bills to be Heard in House Judiciary Committee Tuesday

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Rhode Island: 19 Gun Bills to be Heard in House Judiciary Committee Tuesday

A marathon gun bill hearing is on tap for next Tuesday night in Providence, and NRA and local pro-Second Amendment groups are calling for all-hands-on-deck.

New Jersey: Senate Committee Approves Gun Control Bills

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

New Jersey: Senate Committee Approves Gun Control Bills

On Monday, the Senate Law & Public Safety Committee approved several gun control bills during a hearing that stretched over five hours. 

Unfriendly Skies: Delta CEO Claims Bashing NRA Members is Good Business

News  

Friday, April 13, 2018

Unfriendly Skies: Delta CEO Claims Bashing NRA Members is Good Business

In the wake of the Parkland, Florida, murders, there has been an unusual amount of anti-gun and anti-NRA commentary by private corporations with plenty of problems of their own.   In February, Delta announced it was ending a ...

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NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.