I remember after the Sandy Hook shooting, when states like New York and Connecticut passed laws that would force their gun owning residents to register some of their firearms. At the time I thought that was a little absurd. Not knowing any better, I just assumed that the government already knew exactly what kinds of firearms I owned. After all, don’t they do a background check for every purchase? And isn’t that why firearms have serial numbers?
Of course that’s simply not the case. While the ATF does maintain a list of serial numbers, it’s only useful for identifying the last known owner of a gun. As for background checks, there are laws in place that prevent any federal agency from using the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to create a registry of firearm ownership. The system isn’t allowed to maintain any information about the firearm, the firearm’s owner, or the transaction that occurred, for other agencies. The only information that is shared, pertains to the list of people who are prohibited from owning a gun.
On the other hand, you’d be naive to think that our criminal government doesn’t break its own laws
from time to time all the time. When it comes to the NICS, they’ve certainly broken the rules. In a sense, they even admitted it with a recent federal report that was parroted by multiple news agencies this week (who also conveniently overlooked the criminal activity that report implies).
According to The Government Accountability Office, between 2004 and 2014 there were 2233 attempts to purchase a firearm by somebody who was on the government’s terror watch list. And out of those cases, the suspected terrorists successfully purchased a firearm about 91% of the time. After you read through the report, it doesn’t take much deductive reasoning to discover that our government is maintaining an illegal firearm registry. As Zero Hedge pointed out, the government can’t arrive at these numbers unless they’re abusing the NICS system, and breaking the law.
Upon first reading, many Americans might be glad the authorities are keeping an eye on those potential terrorists in our midst. Of course, the facts are a little different. The term “suspected terrorists” in this case means somebody on the combined terrorist watch-list. These are people that may have never been convicted or even charged with a crime. The list has expanded so much that there are around 700,000 names on the list. They include a number of journalists, former Department of Justice ethics adviser
Even more disturbing is that to make the matches, the government must retain records on everyone, or at least have every purchase in a supposedly confidential system scanned. That data is being shared within the government, contrary to federal law. When the FBI released its figures, it went as far assaying that 2,000 known or suspected terrorists bought a pistol, sports rifle, or assault weapon. This means they are collecting information about the types of purchases as well. Just matching a name to a list would not be enough to come up with accurate data. This means the NICS program, which was promised to be free from other agencies, is sharing personal data such as name, date of birth, address, and social security number.
To be very clear, the NICS system is retaining records of legal purchases, it is sharing that information with other agencies, it is retaining and sharing information containing enough detail to match the purchaser to a government created list, and now the US government is publicizing the fact that it is doing this even though it is a violation of federal law.
Remember, the only information that the NICS is allowed to maintain and share, pertains to people who are prohibited from owning a firearm. Since suspected terrorists are still allowed to buy guns, there is absolutely no reason why the government should have this information. And it’s a good thing they can still buy guns, considering that pretty much anyone could secretly land on the terror watch list for no discernible reason and without trial, and it’s impossible to be removed from the list.
Though if our government was ever called out for collecting this information, somehow I doubt anything would be done about it. We live in a society that is governed by laws, and those laws are carefully crafted to protect us and our freedom without infringing upon our rights. Unfortunately, those laws magically disappear the moment the word “terrorism” is uttered.
Essentially, terrorism is the ultimate trump card. Everything else is meaningless when placed beside it, and nothing is out of the realm of possibility when our government evokes it. Obviously that would include the registration of firearms. In all likelihood they’re using the threat of terrorism as an excuse to track our firearm purchases, which someday, may be used in conjunction with the terror watch listto violate our second amendment rights.
And they call gun owners crazy for being afraid of our government. They call them crazy for thinking that any new gun restriction, or any attempt to tighten background checks could lead us down a slippery slope. Clearly, those fears are well justified.
Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger.