ATF Gains Financial Information On Potential Gun Buyers For Warrantless Tracking, Documents Show
Authored by Emily Miller via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
The federal government has been using Americans’ income and gun purchases to conduct warrantless tracking and deny Second Amendment rights. Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) gave salary estimates to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as the reason to have people’s firearms purchases monitored.
Erich Pratt, senior vice president of Gun Owners of America (GOA), told The Epoch Times that the ATF’s activities “monitoring innocent people” is a serious problem. “Congress needs to rein in this rogue agency by either exercising oversight over it or abolishing the unconstitutional agency altogether,” said Pratt.
These revelations come from new documents, viewed by The Epoch Times which it received from its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit. The latest production from the FOIA has hundreds of pages—many redacted—showing ATF agents requesting warrantless surveillance by the FBI for lawful reasons such as low salaries, past firearm purchases, and sending “bizarre” messages.
The Epoch Times exclusively reported in January about the FBI’s secret monitoring service that tracks people by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) for gun purchases for mere “potential violations of law.”
Too Poor to Buy Guns
According to the documents, a man in Arizona was put into the NICS’s daily monitoring because he has a “reported income” of only $2,839. The ATF agent wrote, “In my experience, someone with this amount of income would not be able to afford 20 firearms.”
An Asian man in Texas was put on the manual background check because the ATF said he has “no work history” which “could possibly indicate” that he is “straw purchasing.”
A special agent in Kansas emailed ATF’s liaison at the NICS to flag two purchasers for “potential trafficking.” The agent wrote: “My targets are purchasing an abundance of firearms without a license or known financial means to obtain the product.”
The FBI’s NICS expert instructed the agent in Kansas on what to include to ensure approval for tracking the suspects. “I would suggest covering the lack of income versus expenditures and also if there is substantial make/model duplication,” wrote the FBI. The ATF agent emailed back with the incomes for each man, acquired by the Kansas Department of Labor.
All the cases in the documents are related to the ATF investigating dealing firearms without a license and straw purchasing, which is buying guns for people prohibited from owning a firearm.
Gun rights activists say federal law enforcement is missing the mark.
“The poor usually live in areas with the most crime and thus have a strong need to arm themselves heavily,” Pratt said. “So targeting the indigent is simply another avenue for gun grabbers to implement a backdoor gun ban.”
ATF headquarters will not disclose how it acquired the other suspects’ incomes, employment information, and past gun purchases found in the FOIA forms.
“We are unable to discuss specific techniques utilized in criminal investigations,” ATF spokesman Erik Longnecker told The Epoch Times. “ATF utilizes a multitude of legal means in our criminal investigations to protect our communities from violent gun crime.”
Longnecker referred The Epoch Times to the National Tracing Center website for information about “several overt programs such as multiple sales and demand letters that can be helpful in identifying illegal firearms trafficking.”
Buying Too Many Guns
A black man in Florida was monitored daily by the FBI for at least 90 days in 2020 because an ATF agent wrote: “Based on my training and experience, I have not seen a legal firearms purchaser purchase approximately 30 firearms in a 120-day window for their personal collection.”
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