Shults Media Relations sent this email blast to TTAG central, of which I’ll share with you:
A Highly Detailed Private National Firearm Owner Registry Exists
March 2014- We are NOT accusing Gun Broker, LLC of anything improper nor are we implying anything improper by Gun Broker. In fact we think their business model is neat with many tens of thousands of satisfied buyers and sellers. We are NOT aware of any underhanded activities by Gun Broker including inappropriate release of any member’s personal information. Gun Broker appears strong in support of firearm ownership–that’s also good business, that’s how they earn their money. But the Internet is buzzing (when doesn’t it?) about their “refusals” and requests for more information from applicants . . .
Basic Background–details to follow shortly: Recently one of our staffers decided to join Gun Broker to observe secondary market sale closing prices, he did not want to sell anything just be a “buyer.” To do this one must register with Gun Broker- fair enough. And buyers need not collect money, etc. as that is the seller’s job as is paying Gun Broker its commission and charges. This may sound like sour grapes–it isn’t, we are very concerned about the personal information Gun Broker requires and has in their data banks–especially when coupled with firearm ownership in today’s hostile Second amendment anti-gun environment.
While gun owners may not tell a neighbor they own guns they apparently will tell an anonymous data base business that and much much MORE. The NRA and other firearm organizations do NOT ask for personal information like Gun Broker.
Our staffer submitted his info. (now in their system forever) but did not see a warning about no P.O. Boxes (if it was near the line where one enters the address). Gun Broker responded saying he was “suspicious” and demanded a FAX of his driver’s license. A driver’s license contains lots of information and some (not our staffer) even list their Social Security Number on their licenses. He refused.
Gun Broker countered–FAX a copy of a blacked out license and/or two copies of other documents that will prove his physical address (where the guns might be)–AND–even after getting that information they may need more.
Gun Broker also asks for date of birth. Your DOB is a highly-valuable piece of unique individual personal private identification. Your DOB when linked to your name is as unique as your SSN and is used as an I.D. for most medical and financial records. And when combined with phone number, addresses and credit card it is a key into everything about you as financial, medical and legal records; your life and records are an open book. Again the danger here having this data in a data base is dangerous due to data breaching, hacking, selling of the information and/or having the files subpoenaed. Date of birth is one of the first questions generally asked or verified if you come into contact with law enforcement–it is that important!
Concerns abound for good reason about any database (like gun Broker’s) having firearm information, transaction records, what you looked for on their site, DOB, phone numbers, addresses, driver’s license info, credit cards especially when linked to guns. Even a 4473 does not ask for that much information and the 4473 is not in a private owned commercial data base either.
Even if Gun Broker does NOT sell or rent their data they can be hacked, subpoenaed or coerced for their data and quite possibly the merchandise items sold, purchased, or even searched by their members is possibly available.
Again, we know of nothing underhanded about Gun Broker and their business and we are NOT implying there is from this piece and neither should you so infer. But we feel this type of personal information especially in a single firearm related database is of concern.
What can Gun Broker do? They should first run some sort of computer search/sort of their system and delete ALL the DOBs they have and just note over 21. For legal reasons to CYA themselves they could require new people to type out rather than just check a box the applicant is over 21. And they need to stop requests for driver’s licenses and other private address information–non-gun/registered items are between individuals and the gun sales are going through licensed FFL dealers and the seller and buyer can communicate that required contact and payment between themselves.
We understand that Gun Broker must make their percentage of listings and sales and that credit card information they could set up with sellers only. We feel that the type of data they are holding and requesting is potentially very harmful if stolen, sold, rented, breached, coerced or subpoenaed.
Last, to add insult to injury, within a day of our staffer’s refused “suspicious” registration rejection notification and Gun Brokers request for more information Gun Broker’s PR began arriving in his email! He unsubscribed.