Feds push police to scan license plates at gun shows

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Guns are not my thing. But I am very happy that people in this country can choose to be armed. It is the last check on an out of control government. This is the reason the right to bear arms exists and why it is enshrined in the 2nd Amendment, second only to the freedom of speech. It’s rather nasty to think about, but that is why the 2nd Amendment exists.

Additionally as support for gun control has waned over the years, and as gun laws have been liberalized, violent crime has gone down markedly. Correlation as they say is not causation, but it is a very interesting correlation.

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So it is curious that so many still (though their numbers are much smaller than in decades past) push for the restriction of gun rights. What is it? What drives these people? Crime is down. The streets of America are mostly safer than they were 20 years ago. What’s the beef?

Fundamentally it comes down to the controllers wanting to control. They resent that a very large swathe of the country is armed. They resent the power that the 2nd Amendment puts in the hands of everyday people.  The gun controllers also often (not always) don’t understand gun culture. They fear people with guns. Only the state should have the ability to inflict lethal force in their eyes.

(There is also probably a significant subset of people in the gun control crowd who have lost a loved one to suicide by gun and as such think banning guns is the answer. This is not an unreasonable disposition considering the heartbreak, even if it is in our opinion the wrong tack. It’s like a mother who has lost a child who died due to drug overdose who argues for drug prohibition. One can empathize with her but also understand that prohibition is not the answer. I include this aside because not ALL gun control people are just statist control freaks.)

Sadly the controllers apparently have no problem trolling through gun shows looking for ne’er-do-wells. (Or people THEY consider ne’er-do-wells anyway.) Tell me, should the Feds also be encouraging police to run the plates of people at concerts? What about gay pride parades? What about all sorts of other gatherings? Seems that someone at the DOJ might get upset about that. But gun shows? That’s AOK?

Surveilling people at gun shows is against the very spirit of this country. We are supposed to be a free people. What’s next, recording the plates of cars in the church parking lot?

(From The Wall Street Journal)

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…

…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.

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