FBI can find out what you’re packing

DownsizeDC.org sent an email out yesterday to point out how the provision of the PATRIOT Act that permits the Feds to snoop into your library history also allows them to take a look at your firearm purchase forms…you know, those forms you’re required to use when buying from a licensed dealer?  You know, the ones that we’ve been told repeatedly aren’t a form of gun registration?  Yeah, those.

From the DownsizeDC email:

The FBI already had powerful tools to combat terrorism before the Patriot Act. The FISA court would allow the FBI to obtain records of suspected terrorists from motels, car rental agencies, storage facilities, and similar businesses.

But the Patriot Act’s Section 215 dangerously broadens this power. Now, the FBI can …

* Merely claim, without providing ANY evidence, that the information it seeks is “relevant” to a terrorism investigation
* Acquire personal information on anyone, including U.S. citizens not suspected of terrorism (or any other crime)
* “Gag” institutions and businesses so they can’t tell people they are being investigated
* Obtain even the most private information, such as emails, medical records, library history, and gun purchase forms

Section 215 violates not only the Fourth Amendment, but also the First and Second Amendments. The federal government has no business knowing what I read or how many guns I own.

The Justice Department’s own Inspector General has found that the FBI uses Section 215 powers tens of thousands of times per year, mostly targeted at innocent Americans.

This makes me suspect that the real purpose of Section 215 isn’t to protect me, but instead to allow the FBI to spy on, intimidate, and blackmail people it doesn’t like, just as it did in the J. Edgar Hoover days.

Maybe it’s me, but I’m not real comfortable with the FBI being able to find out what kind of firearms I’ve purchased in my lifetime. You see, as a nation, we are supposed to be secure from unreasonable search and seizure, but that’s not the case anymore. In the name of combating terrorism, this nation has handed over it’s rights in exchange for the illusion of security. I say it’s an illusion, because terrorism will return to these shores.

What will happen after it does?  Simple.  The powers that be will argue that the reason they couldn’t prevent it was because they need even more powers, powers which erode even more of our rights off the Constitution.  They will say that these new measures will ensure our safety, but will it?

After enough rights are gone the way of the dodo, our safety will be even less assured than it was with the specter of terrorism hanging over our heads.  The problem then will be that the threat won’t be from an outside source, but our own government.  I pray that the measure sunsets.  It needs to go away forever.


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