Facts have been presented showing that there is an amazing amount of truth in what the pro-Second Amendment movement has been saying in regards to gun-free zones in the Land of the Free. Everyone smarter than a post, or at least than Joe Biden, knew that gun-free zones were havens for those who wish to inflict the maximum amount of misery with no one shooting back at them. And guess what? We were all correct.
Ninety-eight percent–that is how much more often a mass shooting happens in a gun-free zone than in areas where people are allowed to protect themselves as they see fit. This study did not include gang violence, which not only is not motivated by the same outcome as mass shootings or acts of terror, but are usually targeted. Gangs often use illegal guns too, so for those two reasons, gangs do not equate into the number.
This information should be shown to everyone who has been trying so hard to make (what is now proven to be) targets out of everyone by removing guns from the public at every opportunity. This is why we are seeing states such as Florida move to allow guns in government buildings and airports.
After the truth was seen that taking guns away from travelers in Florida lead to a mass killing of them as they died defenseless at the airport, this may prove to be one of the most prudent moves that we have seen in terms of public safety and defense in years.
Kentucky, home of Senator Rand Paul, is looking at changing the rules to allow guns in schools there, which will go a long way in limiting the amount of damage that a shooter will do, if God forbid that should ever arise. There are very good reasons why the Second Amendment exists, and much of it has nothing to do with hunting or taking over the government, which is always heard.
The Second Amendment means that a small, frail person can walk down the street and not have to be unprotected nor open for attack. This is the basis of protecting one’s God-given right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Flash mobs exist that see homes and stores overrun with tens, sometimes hundreds of looters, so people may feel the need to have more than ten bullets in a gun in order to be safe. That is the person’s right to do so, just as it is the right of a woman who gets off from work at three in the morning to greet any possible attacker with something more than pepper spray and a rape whistle.
By the way, someone let the left know that rape whistles don’t work so well in the age of central air, closed doors, and surround sound systems. They will never figure it out if we don’t tell them.
Let us imagine that a handful of responsible gun owners had a gun on hand during the most recent shooting at the Florida airport. Without a doubt, someone was likely going to lose their lives that day no matter what because, unlike what the media says about most gun owners, just because someone has a gun on them does not mean that they are planning to use it.
Any gun owner would have been just as busy checking bags, dodging cell phone walkers, and paying for overpriced coffee as anyone who did not have a gun. Therefore, when the madman opened fire, the shock factor was still going to kill at least someone, if not many “someones”.
However, from there on out, that is where the story would have most likely changed to a very large degree. Once the first victims had fallen and the running began, a responsible conceal and carry gun owner would have been on alert. If he or she had a clear shot, which is unlikely but possible, they would have taken it. Contrary to popular belief, gun classes do not teach to ever fire if the shot is not clear, such as would have been the case with the initial panicked running. Still, once people started hitting the ground in an effort to not be a target, things would have changed.
The gunman was reported to have stood over those who cowered on the ground as a defense and simply fired his weapon into the sea of bodies while looming over them. This means that there was quite likely a clear shot once this happened. If so, at least some of those that died on the floor could have been saved. Second of all, if one or two of the people on the ground had a gun (assuming that they had ducked or were playing dead), they could have really had a fighting chance.
If this sounds like a bit too much of a “wild west scenario” for many to be comfortable with, are we more comfortable with a “horror movie scenario”? Gunmen who want to kill people have a terrible track record when it comes to obeying gun laws, so this approach is clearly not working. If it did work, then we would not see a 98% higher number of these crimes in places where no one except the law breaker can kill someone. There is no reason why we can not trust the vast majority of our fellow citizens to have a gun when we already know that the vast minority of us (killers) will certainly not be worthy of the trust to pull back.
It was Robert Heilein who said most astutely that an armed society is a polite society, and there are jewels of logic to be mined within those words. If guns are taken away from the people, then in areas where criminals plan, life becomes the survival of the fittest. When guns were taken by China, Russia, and Germany, it lead directly to the worst genocides of the 20th century.
It is time to understand that instead of banning guns, we need to be teaching the value and respect FOR guns. Our very lives may depend upon it someday.
Dems Calling For Complete Gun Control Zone After Florida Airport Killing, Don’t Realize It Already Was
Unfortunately, we had a tragedy during the opening days of the New Year. On January 6, 2017, the nation saw a mass shooting in the Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International airport. A gunman went through baggage claim and opened fire, shooting 13 people and killing five of them.
The nation was quick to mourn, as the top political leaders sent their thoughts and prayers to the people that were affected. President-Elect Donald Trump tweeted out his sympathies, as did Senator Marco Rubio and House Speaker Paul Ryan and a number of other Senators.
Normally this would have been enough and the people of the nation would gladly accept this. However, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence decided to open their mouth and tweet at the President-Elect, as well as the other elected officials that they didn’t need their thoughts and prayers.
Again, they decided to say that they we need to have more gun control in the United States so that these tragedies could be avoided. Oh, and they really played it up this time. The Brady Campaign sent out tweets saying that thoughts and prayers are not the solution, and they were actually “tired of [his] thoughts and prayers” when referencing House Speaker Ryan.
Trump tweeted out, “Monitoring the terrible situation in Florida. Just spoke to Governor Scott. Thoughts and prayers for all. Stay safe!” There was nothing wrong with that, as it was just a tweet to remind the people of Florida that the future president is going to make sure they are okay.
That was too much for the Brady Campaign, as they sent back, “.@realDonaldTrump We don’t need #thoughtsandprayers – we need commitment to take action & pass life-saving gun laws,” as well as a link to Trump’s original tweet. They also did the same thing to the other Republicans that decided to speak out against the terrible tragedy.
The founder of Micheal Bloomberg-funded Moms Demand Action, Shannon Watts, carried out their message as well. She tweeted out, “If thoughts and prayers solved gun violence, America wouldn’t have the highest rate of gun violence of all developed nations.”
However, let’s focus on that last claim. The claim that America has “the highest rate of gun violence of all developed nations” is actually just part of a distraction. Think about this for a second: Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood airport is a gun-free zone. In other words, they have 100 percent gun control.
So they’re calling for more gun control in an area that already had 100% gun control? That literally doesn’t make any sense at all! If anything, they should be pushing for the opposite, as in less gun control. That would be the only thing that makes sense!
Consider what happened at the end of November on the campus of Ohio State University. It was there that a terrorist actually drove his car onto the sidewalk, hit a bunch of students, got OUT of the car, and attempted to stab the survivors. Do you know the reason why only 11 people were hurt and nobody except the terrorist died?
That was because a police officer, WITH A GUN, was present and shot the guy right away. However can you imagine what would have happened if he wasn’t there right away? There could have been countless deaths. That was why Ohio, much to the chagrin of the Brady Campaign, passed a conceal carry act that makes sure this situation will never happen again.
Or if that doesn’t work, consider this. The other locations that have had total gun control have been the areas that were locations for other mass shootings. Gee that total gun control really helped out didn’t it? For example, Sandy Hook Elementary, Umpqua Community College, Fort, Hood, the Lafayette and Aurora movie theaters, and the Orlando Pulse night club were all areas that had 100 percent gun control.
Add the airport to this list and you have a pretty good case for wanting to have gun control abolished. Seriously anyone that was armed could have stopped these people. The people that committed these heinous acts are CRIMINALS. They are not going to abide by the law and the people that are going to suffer the most are the law-abiding citizens.
It didn’t matter what occurred, such as that Ohio State attack. Liberals are going to ask for total gun control no matter what happens. Again, the only gun that was involved in the Ohio State attack was the one that killed the terrorist. So what were liberals yelling for? The total removal of guns. They really have no logic whatsoever.
Not to mention that cities that have the strictest gun laws often experience the most amount of crimes. That is because criminals don’t care about obeying the law. As a result, Chicago, which does have one of the strictest gun laws in the United States, saw a record wave of shootings over Christmas. Again, gun control really works doesn’t it?
Share this article to show that liberals are now asking for total gun control in areas that already have it. They don’t realize that gun control DOESN’T WORK. Name me a time when criminals obeyed the law. I’ll wait.
Source: Asia Mayfield
The streets of Chicago are awash in blood. More than 60 people were shot over Christmas weekend alone. The struggling city witnessed a record 735 homicides in 2016.
“We had a reprehensible amount of shootings and murders,” Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said this week. “Many,” he continued, “were deliberate and planned shootings by one gang against another. They were targeted knowing fully well that individuals would be at homes of family and friends celebrating the holidays. This was followed by several acts of retaliation.”
Chicago is in the grip of the sternest gun control laws in the country. Yet so many shootings occur that the city’s earned the apt nickname “Chiraq.”
During his campaign, President-elect Donald Trump often used Chicago as an example of a city suffering under failed liberal policies. Gun control doesn’t work. Poverty is the real driver of violence, and that won’t be fixed by a misguided law.
Speaking in Chicago over Thanksgiving, another bloody weekend, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said “Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction. There’s 700 empty spaces at the the Thanksgiving table. That’s 700 heartbreaking reasons why we must recommit and redouble our efforts to stop the violence and eradicate poverty in urban and rural America.”
In 2016, Chicago recorded more murders than New York City and Los Angeles combined. Residents in the South and West areas of the city live a lifestyle more suited to a developing country. While Democrats have been wasting time with failed measures, the city’s ghettos have continued to deteriorate.
Where are the Black Lives Matters protests? The violence in Chicago overwhelmingly affects blacks. Far more minorities are gunned down by thugs in Chicago’s South Side than are harassed or brutalized by police.
“If you look at a place like Chicago … it’s got the single toughest gun laws in the United States and it’s a disaster they’re having in certain areas of Chicago,” Trump said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “Chicago is sort of a tale of two of cities. But in certain areas of Chicago, there’s tremendous gun violence. More than just about any place.”
Trump put his finger on the problem. Liberals bleating about gun control has done nothing but impinge upon the 2nd Amendment rights of honest citizens.
“If you look we actually have strong laws on the books. And again, you look at places like Chicago. Look at New York City. In New York City, we have among the toughest gun laws in the country and we have gun violence. It’s a real problem. But we have the laws. So you have to make the laws work. The government is not making the laws work. But beyond that, you do have a huge mental health problem. There’s no question about it,” Trump said.
The national murder rate, while historically low, is projected to rise by at least 13 percent this year. Nearly half of that increase is attributable to Chicago.
Almost all of the violence springs from gangs. Teen boys slaughter each other to appear tough and fit in. Adult men kill to settle scores or establish new territory. A generation of poor Chicago boys are trapped in a never-ending cycle of violence.
Tensions that have simmered for years finally boiled over in 2016. This year witnessed a staggering increase in the city’s murder rate. Experts believe that agitators like the BLM protesters are partly responsible for the surge in violence.
“Over the past 18 months, the drawdown of police…has led to an explosion of violence not seen in almost 20 years—in August, 90 people were killed. It’s as if Chicago pulled its firefighters off a massive blaze and now residents are watching the flames engulf the entire city” writes NewsWeek.
Liberals are exacerbating the problems in Chicago by allowing distrust between cops and citizens to fester. Police cannot properly protect a city that doesn’t trust them.
Chicago is already on Trump’s radar. He has a real plan for cleaning up the city- create jobs. Many young men drift into gangs because they feel like they have no other options. Provide them with an outlet to a new life, and many boys would refrain from picking up a gun.
The changes will be slow and grueling. The problems are deeply entrenched. Yet, they can be solved. There is hope for Chicago’s poorer residents. They don’t need to tear each other apart, their lives can be expanded beyond their own cramped neighborhoods. What they need to thrive is better opportunities, which can be granted through improved schooling and employment opportunities.
Trump’s pro-business agenda is set to increase jobs and his school voucher program intends to allow poorer parents the choice of where to send their children to school.
Chicago is a city teetering on the edge of destruction. Crime rates are rising rather than falling. The Democrats plan to save the city has failed. It’s time to see what conservatives can do.
Source: Elliot Bougis
“If it’s not one thing it’s another.”
That was something I heard my dad say a hundred times if I heard it a single time.
If it’s not the weather, it’s the car.
If it’s not your kids’ grades, it’s their health.
If it’s not a new change at work, it’s a new problem at home.
And round and round it goes.
Part of growing up, of course, is learning to “dance” with the rabbit punches like these that life throws you. Being an adult–to say nothing of being a successful adult!–means keeping your “head on a swivel,” as they say in the military.
We teach kids to look both ways before they cross the street. But when you become an adult, you need to look left, right, up, down, and basically all around–situational awareness, in other words. And even when we’re not literally crossing the road, but are entering a new job, relationship, financial arrangement, country, or whatever, we still need to have our head on a swivel, be aware that we’re not always aware.
Likewise, we teach kids not to talk to strangers,but as adults we also need to learn how to talk to strangers and how to talk friends. We have to learn how and when to say what (or what not) to whom. As a victim of fraud, I have learned the hard way that sometimes the friendliest voice can be masking the darkest intentions.
This is true in familiar surroundings, too. In fact, if you look at the murder, accident, and violence statistics, most assaults and accidents happen to people in places and around people they know. When you get too familiar with your surroundings, or with people around you, your head slows down on the swivel, you start glancing in only one or two directions when crossing one of life’s streets, and that’s when you step on the proverbial landmine (or at least, banana peel).
The point of this friendly reminder is that, as conservative adults, we need to keep our heads on a swivel as liberals regroup under President Trump.
If it’s not one thing, it’s another.
If it’s not one liberal tactic, it’s another.
Second Amendment advocates had much to celebrate after this year’s election. The Republican landslide is a virtual guarantee of vast improvements in gun rights. Constitutional carry is high on the list of reform, and others are pushing hard for a repeal of the National Firearms Act.
Sounds rosy, right? Sounds like we’re about to cross the street into a new, gun-friendly future. We can relax a bit; after all, having our heads on a swivel the past eight years has been exhusting–we desrve a little rest.
Not so fast, kiddies.
Even as the future looks bright, “California is about to enact major new restrictions that strip away gun rights.”
As the Tribunist writer explains,
This latest push centers around an already controversial magazine ban. In six months, there may be no ‘high capacity’ mags in California (except, of course, for those owned by criminals, police, and those in the military). … Gun control proponents look at a 30-round magazine … as “high-capacity” or “large capacity.” California has led the way in this charge to limit the availability of 30-round magazines, and set the number of rounds a magazine can hold at a much lower point.
Specifically, on December 15–when most conservatives had their head swiveled onto the rise of Donald Trump and the flood of salty liberal tears trying to wash it away–California announced a new “emergency” ban on what they call “large capacity” magazines.
Under the new law, gun owners have six months to dispose of or permanently alter their large-capacity magazines.
The options are pretty standard:
(1) remove the large-capacity magazine from the state;
(2) sell the large-capacity magazine to a licensed firearms dealer;
(3) destroy the large-capacity magazine; or
(4) surrender the large-capacity magazine to a law enforcement agency for destruction.
But in a word, they all say the same thing: “Surrender.”
Surrender your arms.
And by surrendering your arms, surrender your Second Amendment rights.
Think about it: by banning so-called “high capacity” magazines, this law is literally trying to lower the capacity of guns as self-defense items. The law, in other words, is literally trying to reduce the capacity–i.e., the ability–of gun owners to defend themselves.
And, of course, once this law passes, and the people get used to it, and the number of anti-gun citizens keeps growing, the next time around a law will be introduced that re-defines “high capacity” magazines down to 25 rounds… 20 rounds… 10 rounds… until eventually there is “0 capacity” for self defense.
Critics of this new law have pointed out the common problem with liberal anti-gun measures: the only people who will pay attention to this law are the law abiding citizens of California! For every law-abiding gun owner who surrenders his Constitutional right to self-defense, there is one scofflaw with a gun to violate the unarmed. As always, those who break laws will continue to ignore this law, which is why “well meaning” liberal laws are actually a punishment for the law-abiding and a shelter for the lawless.
If it’s not one thing, it’s another.
If it’s not California thumbing its nose at President Trump by defending all its sanctuary cities, it’s California trying to remove Americans’ right to defend themselves from whoever gets to enjoy sanctuary in those “gun-free” cities.
Source: Matthew Bernstein
It’s been a little over a month since the country has decided that Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States. In that time, Trump has been hard at work choosing the members of his cabinet carefully and working diligently to correct the problems we have seen these past eight years.
But it isn’t only the President-Elect that is hard at work. On Election Day it was confirmed that the Republicans would have control of the House and the Senate as well as the White House. In sports terms, it was a clean sweep by the GOP over the Democrats.
And since then there have been Congress members that have been at work trying to think of some new bills that are going to be voted on during the upcoming months. And one of the Republican members of Congress has announced his plans for the newest bill he wants to introduce.
North Carolina Republican Representative Richard Hudson has said that he is going to introduce legislation that would affect concealed carry members all over the country. And it isn’t the first time that he has tried to introduce something like this. Hudson tried to introduce a similar bill back in February of 2015.
But this new legislation is going to be known as the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017. As you can probably imagine, it is going to directly affect those people that have a permit for a concealed carry permit. But since this is coming from a Republican, it isn’t going to take away your rights.
Essentially what the bill is going to do is allow a person with a concealed carry license from one state to actually carry a concealed handgun in any other state that allows their residents to concealed carry.
There are some basic restrictions, including not allowing someone to carry a gun if they are banned from possessing or even transporting a firearm under federal law. The bill also excludes carrying “a machine gun or destructive device,” and the person must follow “the restrictions of that state.”
Again those aren’t bad restrictions to have. They are pretty basic and necessary to ensure that nobody gets hurt. And they respect the rights of the Second Amendment, which is finally receiving the respect that it deserves, considering that it has been chewed up and spit out under eight years of Obama.
Hudson also talked about the legislation. “Our Second Amendment right doesn’t disappear when we cross state lines, and I plan to introduce legislation in the first days of the 115th Congress to guarantee that. The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 is a common sense bill to provide law-abiding citizens the right to conceal carry and travel freely between states without worrying about conflicting state codes or onerous civil suits.”
He later added, “As a member of President-elect Trump’s Second Amendment Coalition, I look forward to working with the administration to advance policies that support and protect our right to keep and bear arms.” As stated before, the Democrats have been spitting on the Second Amendment for the past eight years, so this is a welcomed sight.
Hudson wasn’t the only member to try and introduce a bill like this before. Other members, like Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn, have introduced national concealed carry legislation in the past, but that was when Democrats held the majority in the upper chamber.
He also didn’t make any indication if there was any plan to re-introduce his legislation next year. But considering that the Republicans control the House, Senate, and the White House, it certainly has a great chance to be passed.
A source confirmed that Hudson’s office has been working on the bill for a while and “thinking about what we are going to do in the new year and we plan to introduce the bill from this Congress with the addition of constitutional carry in the first days of the 115th Congress.”
Trump was able to win the support of Second Amendment supporters, thanks in part to the National Rifle Association. He also promised during his campaign to push an expansion of gun rights under his administration. The NRA was naturally all for this.
Wayne LaPierre, the chief executive of the NRA, said in a video following the November 8 election, “This is our historic moment to go on offense and to defeat the forces that have aligned against our freedom once and for all. The individual right to carry a firearm in defense of our lives and our families does not and should not end at any state line.”
But the fight for gun control is going to be a long one. Democrats have already won victories that have tightened gun and ammunition restrictions in New York, Connecticut, Colorado, Nevada, California, and Washington state in recent years. And you can be sure that they are going to keep up the fight against guns.
But liberals have embarrassed themselves when it comes to gun control recently. A couple weeks ago, the Ohio State terrorist was out trying to kill people. And naturally the liberals tried to claim that he was using a gun to go and kill people. They were ADAMENT in their claims. There was a giant problem though. The terrorist used a car and a knife. He never touched a gun. It’s an embarrassment that is going to live on.
But they did have a serious threat against the Second Amendment before. Back before the election, Hillary Clinton made it a promise to sue all the firearm companies that had a gun involved in a crime. But the biggest problem with that is the fact that the gun manufacturers are not responsible for what their buyers do. It makes about as much sense as suing Ford for crashing your car.
Share this article with your friends and family to show that real legislation is coming to affect gun control laws in the country. Soon enough we will be able to have concealed carry in areas that we should have had it and not worry about breaking state laws. It’s common sense and it’s about time that it was enacted.
One of the greatest rights that we have in this country is the ability to own a gun. People own guns for various reasons including protection, sport, or they want to protect themselves from our tyrannical government. Whatever the reason is, the Constitution allows them the right to own a gun.
When our Founding Fathers were coming up with the first set of rules for this country, they made a specific Amendment for owning a gun. The right was so important that it was chosen second, not tenth.
It has been that way since the Constitution was first passed! And yet we still have to deal with Democrats that want to restrict that particular Amendment so much that it’s almost unrecognizable. That is exactly what Hillary Clinton plans to do if she gets into the White House.
A report from the Washington Times has confirmed that Clinton would ban “some of the most popular” guns in the United States if she gets into the Oval Office! But that isn’t all she would do. The report also shows that she would continue to decimate the Second Amendment with new gun control laws and regulations.
Of course Clinton tries to play it cool. She “reassures law-abiding Americans their firearms won’t be targeted” if she wins. Except that is completely false! Her gun control laws would be broad measures “that would affect Americans with no criminal records.” Not only that, it would have LITTLE IMPACT on the criminals that have guns!
Here is a prime example. Clinton is calling “for a reinstatement of the national assault weapons ban and a prohibition on high-capacity magazines.” That “assault weapons” ban just took an entire category of guns away from law-abiding citizens! That was something that Clinton assured wouldn’t happen!
Not only that, but the “high capacity” magazine ban would FORCE law-abiding citizens to fork over their “high capacity” magazines to government officials. It’s either that or they would destroy them. She isn’t even elected and yet this is the type of action that would happen in a Clinton presidency!
So what about those criminals? Since criminals always listen to what the government says, we have nothing to worry about right? WRONG! Criminals would KEEP their guns and “high capacity” magazines. You know what that means? They would have an advantage over law-abiding citizens that listened to Clinton!
It’s bad enough that Clinton wants to take the guns away from people, but unfortunately it gets even worse. She would call for an expansion of background checks that the federal law would mirror the laws that exist in California, Colorado, and Washington State.
Looking at those states something comes up that shouldn’t shock anyone. They have such strict background check laws that people just don’t get weapons. And since criminals don’t obey the law they keep their weapons. As a result, those three states were the background to some of the nation’s most recent high profile shootings!
So putting two and two together increased background checks means that more innocent people are going to get hurt. They can’t defend themselves with their own gun, so they are at the complete mercy of the criminal! Do you want to put yourself at the mercy of a criminal, or do you want to be able to protect yourself AND your family?
There is still one last act that Clinton would do if she were President. She would have the Supreme Court revisit the District of Columbia v Heller (2008) ruling. A revisit would lead to the possibility of either tweaking or ELIMINATING the court’s reaffirmation of the individual right to keep and bear arms.
Those are just some of the horrors that would arise from a Clinton presidency. A Constitutional right that has been in the United States since the formation of the country would cease to exist. And yet she wants to claim that she wouldn’t have any laws that would affect the law-abiding citizens.
Donald Trump put it the best in the third presidential debate. “I believe if my opponent should win this race, which I really don’t think will happen, we will have a Second Amendment which will be a very, very small replica of what it is right now.”
But this has been the Democrats plan all along. They want to see this country completely devoid of all guns whatsoever. But they fail to realize that law-abiding citizens are NOT the people causing damage! It’s CRIMINALS!
Speaking of criminals, this isn’t the first time that Clinton has tried to change our gun laws. She actually believes that terrorism can be defeated, which it can, but her way wouldn’t do anything to stop it. She thinks that terrorism can only be defeated if you collect all the guns in the United States. Yes, that is what she thinks.
But she isn’t just going after the guns in the United States; she’s targeting the gun manufacturers as well! Clinton wants to sue firearm companies for crimes that are committed from their manufactured guns. It doesn’t matter if a CRIMINAL took the gun from the registered owner. Clinton just wants to see the gun manufacturers gone!
Share this article with your friends and family to show some of the actions that would happen if Clinton were to set foot in the Oval Office. The Constitutional right to own a gun would cease to exist, as we know it. If you value your right to own a gun for whatever reason, then you cannot let Clinton get elected.
We need to make sure that Donald Trump gets elected. Otherwise a Clinton presidency would completely destroy the Second Amendment. Something that our Founding Fathers worked tirelessly to put into the document that defines this nation would be completely erased.
Federal agents enlisted local police to scan cars’ plates at shows’ parking lots
Source: Devlin Barrett
Federal agents have persuaded police officers to scan license plates to gather information about gun-show customers, government emails show, raising questions about how officials monitor constitutionally protected activity.
Emails reviewed by The Wall Street Journal show agents with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency crafted a plan in 2010 to use license-plate readers—devices that record the plate numbers of all passing cars—at gun shows in Southern California, including one in Del Mar, not far from the Mexican border.
Agents then compared that information to cars that crossed the border, hoping to find gun smugglers, according to the documents and interviews with law-enforcement officials with knowledge of the operation.
The investigative tactic concerns privacy and guns-rights advocates, who call it an invasion of privacy. The law-enforcement officials say it is an important and legal tool for pursuing dangerous, hard-to-track illegal activity.
There is no indication the gun-show surveillance led to any arrests or investigative leads, but the officials didn’t rule out that such surveillance may have happened elsewhere. The agency has no written policy on its use of license-plate readers and could engage in similar surveillance in the future, they said.
Last year, the Journal reported that the Drug Enforcement Administration had considered conducting such surveillance at gun shows, but scrapped the plans for unclear reasons. Emails and interviews with law-enforcement officials show ICE went ahead with the strategy in 2010, relying on local police to do so.
Jay Stanley, a lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union, said the gun-show surveillance “highlights the problem with mass collection of data.” He said law enforcement can take two entirely legal activities, like buying guns and crossing the border, “and because those two activities in concert fit somebody’s idea of a crime, a person becomes inherently suspicious.”
Erich Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, said his group also opposes such surveillance. “Information on law-abiding gun owners ends up getting recorded, stored, and registered, which is a violation of the 1986 Firearm Owners Protection Act and of the Second Amendment,” Mr. Pratt said.
A spokeswoman for ICE acknowledged its Homeland Security Investigations agents in San Diego office conducted an operation at the Del Mar gun show. “In conducting these operations, HSI San Diego and its partners make every effort to utilize all investigative methods for planning purposes,” she said. “As for specific methods, HSI San Diego does not comment.”
John Chigos, CEO of PlateSmart Technologies, Inc., which sells license-plate-reader systems, said the devices help protect the public but he called it “an abuse of the technology’’ to target gun-show shoppers.
He added, “I think this was a situation that shows we need to establish policies for license-plate readers, like any new technology.”
License-plate readers are increasingly used by law-enforcement agencies as a way to search for fugitives, missing children, and, recently, the man who allegedly set off a bomb in New York City.
But their use at gun shows occupies a murky legal ground. While technology and data collection have greatly expanded the ability of government and companies to monitor citizens’ activity, U.S. courts, lawmakers, and senior officials have been slow to make clear what types of mass surveillance cross the line into violations of constitutional rights.
It has long been legal for police officers to record license plates they observe in the course of ordinary life. License-plate-reader technology, however, allows those observations to become mass-data collection. A single camera can record thousands of vehicle plates an hour, capturing the data at high speeds, in thick traffic and in other situations that the human eye cannot.
Boosters of the technology say it is a way to find a criminal in a sea of otherwise indistinguishable cars. Critics say that to find that criminal the government is tracking the movements of millions of innocent people—adding up to detailed surveillance of their daily lives and creating data that can be misused.
Critics such as Mr. Pratt say using the technology for gun shows is illegal in any case because of the firearm owners act, which bans the government from creating records of gun buyers except temporarily for background checks.
The Journal obtained, through a request under the Freedom of Information Act, internal ICE emails showing agents in 2010 targeted a gun show called Crossroads of the West in Del Mar, Calif.
More than half of the pages provided by the agency were completely redacted, or blacked out; others have large sections redacted, apparently to keep secret how the surveillance was undertaken.
In an email titled “Request for Assistance,” an ICE investigator wrote, “We would like to see if you can support an outbound guns/ammo operation on (redacted) at the Crossroads (Del Mar) Gun Show. We would like to deploy license plate readers.” The email, whose sender and recipient are redacted, includes a large section of operational details that are also redacted.
The law-enforcement officials with knowledge of the operation confirmed ICE got local police officers to drive around the parking lot at the gun show and use their license-plate readers to collect all of the cars’ information. A spokeswoman for the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office declined to comment on whether the department took part in the activity.
Bob Templeton, the CEO of Crossroads of the West, which puts on the gun show, said he knew local police had been at the show, but was surprised to learn that federal agents had been gathering data about customers. The show at the Del Mar Fairgrounds typically draws 6,000 to 9,000 customers, meaning thousands of cars are in the parking lot, he said.
“It’s obviously intrusive and an activity that hasn’t proven to have any legitimate law-enforcement purpose,” said Mr. Templeton. “I think my customers would be resentful of having been the target of that kind of surveillance.”
Other emails show ICE agents planned to keep scanning license plates at other gun shows in Southern California, though agency officials said they couldn’t confirm whether they had done so.
A June 30, 2010, email from an ICE agent lists a series of gun shows that summer, including ones in nearby Ontario and Costa Mesa, noting that “the last (only) one worked out pretty well, so I’d like to send two or three to that one as well.”
In reply, an unidentified agent wrote, “I am good to go on all of them.”