(courtesy phasezero.gawker.com)

Under The Firearm Owners Protection Act. the feds can’t maintain a gun registry. The FBI deletes the info gathered during the NICS enquiry within 24 hours. In theory. In practice, well, start with the fact that several states – such as New Jersey and Maryland – maintain a comprehensive electronic gun registry. Speaking of The Free State, check out the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center, the 100-employee post-911 quango coordinating counterterrorist activities between 29 law enforcement agencies.” What’s the bet this thumb-twiddling “fusion center” has an out-of-state gun owner database? More generally, as a gun owner, do you think the government has you on its radar – moreso than non-gun owners? [h/t SS]

103 Responses to Question of the Day: Is The Government Watching You?

  1. I figure with my purchase history I have my very own NSA agent. I call him Agent Thomas. I sometimes write short notes to him as PS’s in my emails.

    Hello, Agent Thomas!

  2. Is this satire? It’s well established our government reads our emails, listens to phone calls, monitors social media and forums like this. its likely the government knows more about you than your spouse, or partner, does.

    • Yep. if you are going to exchange “questionable” emails get a PGP key and encrypt your mail. Or better yet, generate a massive one time pad and exchange in person. Send your emails encrypted with the next email ending where the last one time pad was used. Send the key location for the next message in clear text for the one time pad. Decrypt messages on offline machine where the one time pad is kept. Simple. Unbreakable.

      • They don’t care quite as much about what you’re sending as they do whom you’re sending it to.
        Encryption only encrypts the contents of the communication, they still know the origin and destination. That allows them to find connections. And if they find a connection they consider interesting, then they’ll try to brute force decrypt the data.

        I worked at a large supercomputer manufacturer and attended a non-confidential meeting where they discussed a new ASIC available that would dramatically improve sifting through the metadata around encrypted packets. One of their biggest customers is in Ft. Meade, Maryland.

        • I can agree with that. Encryption doesn’t protect that person A has sent a message to person B. If one wanted that kind of privacy they could use throwaway email addresses created and sent through a remote wifi connection (not your home) with the use of anonymous proxies and a linux live cd.

          I disagree that a one time pad can be brute forced – with exception to the use of fists in a small dark room.

        • @Anon, also remember, that every device has a MAC address, and all the hardware in it has serial numbers embedded. Unless you have a device you bought for cash, at a garage sale, and only use once, you will leave a pattern to follow.

        • @Anon, also remember, that every device has a MAC address, and all the hardware in it has serial numbers embedded.

          @Rambeast. Only the mac address is identified. I don’t know about you – but my mac address is modifiable (Atheros brand). I can readily change it under device manager in windows for example and I change it often (mostly so the router at restaurants identifies me a someone new and not someone who has been sucking down their bandwidth for hours).

          http://visihow.com/images/2/2b/Yassora_Computer_Management.png

    • It is both sarcastic and sort of true. They collect your E-mails but after reading a few them they got bored and moved on. 🙂

  3. Since I don’t own any guns, don’t even like guns, have no clue why anyone would want a gun, and love our beneficent government from which all our happiness derives beyond all else, I’m pretty sure I’m good.

    • Now now Mr Thompson……..
      We all know you hang with the likes of:
      Mr. Wesson
      Mr. Kimber
      Mr. Beretta
      Mr. Ruger and
      Mr. Taurus
      With friends like that you expect us to believe…………

      /Sarc.

    • I’m with Mr Thompson. I don’t own any guns. I’m only here on this page for the crappy click bait ads of celebrities and nekid womens on the bottom of this page.

  4. Uhhh… YEAH! Is no one over there at TTAG paying attention to the news? The Federal Government and the NSA have been scrapping up every bit (literal bit, like the unit of data) proof information and storing it for years. And while we don’t have 100% proof that they’re storing 4434 but we KNOW they’re tracking individual purchase histories. It’s a compete fantasy to believe that they’re for some unknown reason NOT flagging gun owners and their purchases somewhere.

      • Snopes is run by people who lean big government. As such, anything that Snopes publishes regarding big government is to be taken with a grain of salt.

      • I checked Snopes. Lots of search hits on motorcycles, but nothing on motorcycles and databases, nothing about motorcycles and watchlists, or anything of the like. If you know of a Snopes article that disproves this article by the Washington Post, I’ll gladly eat my words.

      • Snopes and metabunk are a joke. Their purpose is to fool weaker minded people into believing the official version of things.

        • “Snopes and metabunk are a joke. Their purpose is to fool weaker minded people into believing the official version of things.”

          And what media-outlet, politician and mega-corporate entity these days don’t try to do the same thing? Cynicism, distrust and outright paranoia are the only things barely keeping the information outlets from completely bamboozling us. After careful analysis over the past 59 years, I have concluded that we are our own worst enemies for allowing this country to degrade from the best in the world to the lowest levels of international respect and support for our policies, actions and leadership. I’m hardly surprised that immigration from first- & second-world countries are at an all-time low.

          The Truth About Gun Rights is that we allowed them to be plowed right under our very unambiguous Constitution and allowed it to be reinterpreted to our great loss. Even though it appears that we are winning according to the logical numbers, we have allowed that to placate us into thinking that things will ever get any worse.

          The asinine aspect of this whole subject of not respecting the Constitution as if it were the Bible is the problem. Human nature. People won’t accept “no” for an answer it seems; whether it is death, taxes, the price of commodities or the Constitution, everyone thinks that everything is negotiable. We need to take Constitutional Rights off of the negotiation table-period. It is nice to know that we can “enhance” the Constitution – making it better to correct omissions, for example (like we forgot to grant women & minorities the same rights as the white men enjoy). But reducing any aspect of these rights is an outrage that we should be waiving the bloody shirts of our honored dead and maimed members of the armed forces who fought to preserve those Rights.

          W e . a r e . l e t t i n g . t h i s . h a p p e n. “before our very eyes”. No politician can be trusted without proper scrutiny and oversight. Our government has neither capability or courage to enable such transparency and the politicians whom we elected to protect the middle class – who pay for everything the government does, including creating a problem when there was none because of greed – eventually alienating every Muslim in the world because of our ever-expanding thirst for oil, propping up despot rulers as our puppets and now for the rest of eternity we have a “Muslim problem” from which there is no negotiation, no singular representative or ruler capable of unifying them into an entity which can be reckoned with one way or another.

          This all happened because the government had the money and the unmitigated gall to think that any of these Ponzi schemes would have positive outcomes. Yet no politician has shown to have ever learned from these historical blunders!

          Anyway, back to the money. If the government were subject to the aforementioned transparency and oversight that accounted for every dollar, then they could not afford to even consider surreptitious programs without citizens’ approval. That is exactly what happened in Nicaragua with the Ollie North affair – the CIA had to sell drugs in order to pay for the Contra’s guns, who they wanted to mess with the Communist regimes. So, oversight was effective in handicapping those Central American Spook Programs; it wasn’t known that the CIA would stoop so low in response.

          Let’s turn off the free-flowing spigot of cash and reign in this government to the point it feels like we are in charge again. Please? We are a force to be reckoned with, but we are wasting our potential by even allowing any discussion of taking anything away from the Constitution – let’s deny them the opportunity to even discuss it and raise the bar to the level of fixing our government – who after all is allowing all this terrible shit to happen in the first place, and in many cases either creating the problems, and or making them worse.

          What will future generations think of us after accepting 24×7 surveillance over everyone, illegitimate wars, torture, suspension of our rights to defend or express ourselves, to privacy, to hold government accountable, sacrificing our freedom from nonexistent security and wasting our tax dollars on everything and overall just trying to rule the world.

          Hell, what do your kids think of you for supporting this kind of government?

        • “Mark-Lee” can I post the cliff notes version of that lecture?

          “I’m Mark Lee and I’m a libtard progressive, I know nothing about the Constitution or the American political process, and I take my orders from the Whitehouse”.

        • neiowa commented: “Mark-Lee” can I post the cliff notes version of that lecture?

          Hate much? Intolerant butthole.

    • Crap. A motorcycle? Do you also listen to rock and roll music and stay out past 10pm?! I had no idea I was surrounded by such miscreants.

  5. Considering I’m x military and had a secret security clearance at one time, plus have had several CCLs as well as bought guns from dealers and ammo online…

    I am sure they know where I live. I don’t lose sleep over it.

  6. Of course they know who has what and where they are all at.

    Nobody is fooled. There is a registery.

  7. You have to be pretty naive to think you are still living in lala land. Every word. Every where. As Snowden said the goal of govt was to vacum up the digital exhaust of the entire planet. You also have to realize that the “authorities ” not only lurk on gun forums but troll with provocative posts. On one forum it is humorous to see posters with 5 total posts asking about cutting down barrels or moving guns up from the South.

    Have to add something to the famous Farnham quote about “don’t do stupid things with stupid people “. Don’t say stupid stuff on the Interweb. Don’t interact on the Interweb with obvious govt types. Sadly it is back to the future. Somehow America wound up just like the USSR or East Germany.

  8. According to the law here in WA (if I remember correctly) “long guns” are not even recorded. IE Shotguns, riffles, ar-15 and so forth. Pistols they do keep. Seeing as I am a gun owner and use a cell phone, yes the government COULD be watching me. As far as keeping records on my pistol purchases, I don’t really care, just so long as they do not know about my long guns. 🙂

  9. I figure that anyone that has ever posted on a gun forum or maybe even visited one is probably on a watch list.

  10. some truly truly paranoid people on here. you can say anything you want (thats legal) its just that they WILL try to intimidate you if they dont like what you say. did intimidation work on you when you were in grade school? if so, then thats why they do it now.

    • It’s it still paranoia if it has a rational basis? The ATF takes pictures of dealer records. Do you really think that is for an agency art contest and not an illegal registry? It’s been disclosed, at least in CA, that local law enforcement agencies are taking photos of license plates to track the movements of random citizens. With the right paperwork one can see the photos of themself.

      We know that the NSA has systems in telco offices that passively split of some of the light signal from fiber lines to monitor traffic without detection and that the main office famous for this is in S.F., not where the main international trunk comes in, closer to San Luis Obispo, which one would expect for monitoring only international traffic.

      I have no doubt that this is being used to find those who contact known suspicious people and countries overseas, but do you have perfect faith that those who oppose the unchecked, illegitimate expansion of government power are not also being checked out?

    • This is what happens when people are not taught history and human behavior.

      Anytime a government is allowed to acquire data, sooner or later, it will inevitably be put to uses detrimental to the citizenry. We’re already too far down the road to turn around, mass and momentum are increasing. The only question is will 2050 be more like Idiocracy or 1984. Sadly, it’s not hard to set the odds…

      War is Peace
      Freedom is Slavery
      Ignorance is Strength

      • There won’t be a 2050. Not in the cronological sense you speak of…right is wrong-evil is good…

  11. Oh yes. LOL at notalima comment. I am in that category as well. Hadn’t thought of my own personal agent. But its probably not a person anyway but a virtual one residing in “the machine”. I absolutely assume that I am well known to the “machine” as I suspect just about anyone who looks at or interacts with TTAG. I call it “the Machine” that because of the TV series, “Person of Interest.” That show is eerily on target from my view as we move down the path towards an Orwellin world. The subplot lines each week are not the issue. Its the entire narrative from the beginning that is so incredibly interesting and contains some fairly accurate pretrials of what’s actually happening in the cyber world today and our personal lives. As for someone who is in the cloud computing / AI / internet space and has an awareness of the dark web issues and challenges, I cracked up when everyone was so surprised and torqued over the Snowden thing. In April 2012, well before Snowden, Wired Magazine published a featured article on what the NSA was up to in Utah at their massive data center and facility they were building in Utah. Project Prism I believe. Track the advancements of fractal mathematics over the last decade and its not hard to connect the dots.

    I personally do my best to help educate people to reality about this subject and the subject of why our founders did what they did with the 2nd amendment. This is why I am here on this site. And I encourage people to read Orwell’s “1984” followed by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s, “Gulag Archipelago”. One’s fiction and the other is not but you would swear that the two authors were in collaboration. Very poignant.

    By the way, there is a surprising change to this website that I wonder is intentional or not. There is an interesting delay on this site now when I type comments. Had not seen this before. If it is at TTAG’s end and intentional for security or for a better experience, then cool. If TTAG guys are not aware of it, I would be curious if its at your end or mine and whether your readers and commenters are experiencing the same thing. This just started about a week or so ago.

    Perhaps its Agent Thomas ;0)

  12. I don’t know – but have you guys seen defense distributed latest video for the ghost gunner where they make a machine gun (full auto). I had a laugh. Nice.

  13. Uh. Yeah? You can bet they’re watching this board right now. They should know that I’m an avid boater, and am heading to TheTruthAboutBoats right now.

    Also, that picture is creepy, but quite accurate.

  14. Again, is this satire? Of course they’re watching. In fact, I’m surprised I haven’t been SWATTED yet.

  15. Not sure if serious. Global dragnet surveillance has been the order of the day for over a decade now. No paranoia or conspiracies required.

    Funny even when the .gov stands in front of a room full of reporters and says it’s spying on everyone globally and collecting every bit of data it can possibly collect people still don’t believe it. Then, when the moron mass finally gets around to believing what has been going on right in front of their faces for years and years the inevitable conclusion they come to is “but it’s for our own good.”

  16. I’d be more surprised to learn I’m not on some sort of government list than to learn that I am.

  17. “The FBI deletes the info gathered during the NICS enquiry within 24 hours.”

    Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!

    And I have a bridge for sale in the Sahara desert.

    • The thing many people seem to miss regarding every claim of “deleted” data is that if the entity in control of said data had no intentions of ever keeping that data the data would not be collected in the first place.
      Nothing needs to be stored for any period of time other to perform a NICS check. Querying a database is just matching data points. The database of course remains relatively static but the points I enter to match never need to be stored for any period of time ever.
      Whether it’s 24 hours or 24 minutes temporary storage = permanent storage. Unless of course your name is Clinton or Lerner.

      There is no reason for TTAG to have been storing all of our data and if you’ve been visiting for a while you probably recall the great “I love cock” debacle that resulted from said data storage.

      Open request to everybody everywhere: STOP STORING DATA!!!!!!!

  18. California has been registering handguns for years and long guns since 2014. The primary purpose of this database is to permit seizure of weapons and to make it harder for lawful owners to retrieve their firearms fter seizure.
    Do I think the government is spying on me? I think the government has complex algorithms that search everything, but given the volume, only a few key words and phrases are looked at by human eyes. On the other hand, it seems the government may be keeping everything, so if you give them a reason to look, they can search your internet and phone history for years. But this too is limited; the one impediment to Big Brother is that many local and state databases, even federal databases, run on incompatible systems that don’t play well with others. As an example, the NICS system is notoriously unreliable.

  19. Of course they do Supreme Leader Obama is just really intrested in geting to know all his subject thoughso theirs nothing to worry about. PProbably just want s to find out everyone favorites foid for these new summer camps ive been hearing about

  20. CT explicitly maintains a firearms registry, and an entry is made at every sale or transfer. A copy is also sent to the local CLEO. Our CLEO is s nice guy, and was great when I got my 03 C&R License, but I think that I probably give him nightmares.

  21. Gee, I’d hate to think I’m the only one NOT being watched by goobermint agencies. That would be kind of insulting.

  22. It is my understanding that the FOPA prevents the fed (and ONLY the fed) from keeping ELECTRONIC records of gun ownership. Paper is OK, states can do whatever they want. I also once saw a picture purported to show an ATF clerk scanning yellow forms into their database, I presume from retired/defunct FFLs.

    Why hide? Stand up for yourself and your brothers-in-arms.

  23. Right after my first post I got a call from the NSA! Mr Smith assured me they are not watching me. Good enough for me!

    • Agent Smith is such a nice boy.

      “looking out for’ is so much nicer than ‘watching you’ or ‘compiling data for your eventual arrest and execution’. 😉

  24. Maybe. But even if they do it’s pretty clear they can barely manage a Terrorist Watch list with genuinely, imminently, dangerous people on it, let alone a list of gun owners who maybe, might, under extreme circumstances, might be gov’t insurrectionists.

  25. Don’t think for one second that Big Brother isn’t keeping track of everything that they possibly can.

    Sure, the FBI probably does delete NICS data within 24 hours … of course they make sure to hand a copy of the data to the Department of Homeland Security or the NSA before wiping their drives.

    Better yet, absolutely nothing stops a foreign country from screening all of our data and then sharing anything interesting with us … while we do the same for that foreign country.

    And don’t forget that entities are tracking and keeping all of the data that we voluntarily provide (whether or not we realize it). Just for grins, I researched a person that I know. I was stunned to see an openly available document revealing that person’s professional license status from the early 1990s — including their name before they legally changed their name!

    At this point, we have to assume that Big Brother and/or private data entities are watching everything. Basically any written, electronic, or even spoken transaction that leaves your person is likely in some database somewhere. Remember, that includes whatever you type into search engines as well as anything that you order using an Internet connection. Pay for it with a credit card? That is recorded as well.

    Saying it another way, the only content that you can expect to remain private is any face-to-face transaction that was not recorded.

  26. I guarantee it.. especially from those who buy, sell, and trade on arms_list and other places where the “gunshow” loophole is utilized! Everything you have done digitally (internet, cell phone, banking transactions, medical records) has been recorded and saved autonomously since 2006. The systems they use to accomplish this work on auto pilot with only general maintenance and updates, the algorithm detects key words which if detected will flag your activities for an actual human to view. But it is all automatically archived and saved! They have the memory capacity to hold EVERY Americans electronic/digital life history for around 300 years! And that is a time frame that factors in the projected population growth. This being the case, why/how would they not be keeping a registration? Even if its not intentional.. this is what we get when the government is controlled by people who in one form or another, hold in there hearts the desire to control the destiny and free will of their fellow man!

  27. There are 3 independent problems here:
    – NICS checks
    – 4473 Forms’ 20-year retention period
    – State registries

    If my understanding is correct, that the NICS checks are fielded by a private contractor, then I think it would be tough for the DoJ to accumulate years of daily inquiry files. Eventually, someone would spill the beans. Nevertheless, it is a risk and there is no means to know if they started to preserve the file.

    The far more serious concern is the 20-year retention period on 4473 forms. This risk is compounded by the requirement that FFLs going out-of-business must turn-over their archives to the ATF where they are optically scanned. The sum of the ATFs archives and in-business FFL files will eventually represent a national database of retail purchases. As UBC spreads (several States for handguns and a couple for long-guns), we are approaching a point where a substantially complete record of legal purchases is foreseeable.

    Finally, State registries for handguns and a couple for long guns. These registries already exist for retail sales and are being extended under UBC.

    We PotG ought to be thinking tactically about 4473 forms SEPARATELY from UBCs. We are FAILING to see them as distinct facets of gun control. I think we make a mistake by OURSELVES insisting that 4473 forms are a necessary part of UBCs; we are shooting ourselves in the foot.

    What we ought to be doing is attacking the 4473 retention laws; both the 20 year time limit and the turn-over-to-ATF when going out of business. We ought to demand a Congressional report on the utility of gun traces by year. Certainly the most valuable traces must be those for the past few years. The least valuable traces for 20, 19, or 18 years ago. We ought to insist that the retention period be cut-back to the time period that results in useful forensic results. Congress could amend the law from 20 years to 10 or 7 or 5.

    Furthermore, we ought to push for a law change for FFLs to turn-over their archives to private archivists who will age the 4473 forms and destroy the records when they age-out.

    An attack on the 4473 retention law ought to be well-received by the public which is sympathetic to paperwork reduction. We ought to be able to make a practical case for retention reform once the ATF produces data on how few old traces produce useful information.

    Our attack on the 4473 retention law will have either of 2 results: success; or, failure. If successful, we will gut the usefulness of UBC as a means of building a more complete national registry. The Antis will be less enthusiastic about pushing for UBC if the effort doesn’t help them achieve confiscation. If we fail in achieving 4473 reform we can point-out that the opposition isn’t really interested in UBC for background-checking buyers in the secondary market. Rather, they will have revealed themselves to be pushing for a national registry.

  28. Personally, the smaller and more local the government or HOA the more concerned I am with them. As you get further from the fed and closer to the HOA the interest level decreases and the level of scrutiny declines. I doubt the Federal government would waste their time on a database of gun owners. The level of security on state or city systems would be so laughable the FBI, NSA or CIA or whoever could hack them and have the information in a few hours.
    Unless you are buying with cash the electronic record of your purchases will tell them everything they need to know also, maybe not make and model but enough to know how big your collection is.
    All in though, I don’t care. I am not doing anything worth spying on and there are plenty more criminals and crazy people out there that I will be so far down the list. Besides, do you really really believe the ability to go round the whole country rounding up guns exists?

    • lol, Ralph.

      You should compile a list of these bits of wisdom. They’d make funny desk calendar quote book.

  29. As usual you folks are missing the pearl here. Government creates organizations for one thing, like tracking terrorist and when that doesn’t pan out, meaning not a lot of terrorist to track, they switch the scope to something else to justify its continued existence. One day CA will no knock warrant my door and remove my legally own guns from me, leaving me defenseless from lawful self protection.

  30. Consider this. The greater the amount of the data collected the less useful it is. It becomes a storage and functioning problem. The data carries the problem of aging out, it can become useless after a while, Also, how can the data be used? There are simply too many people involved. It has been said in some quarters that NSA can’t read all the data is has already. I suggest we give them even more to collect and muddy the pool even more.

    • For now. Massive data collection is a lot like cryogenics. The collectors assume that a way to use it will eventually present itself so better to collect it all and not need it than not collect it all and need it.

      Data won’t ever get old. We see it today with California taking away peoples guns because they got busted with pot 40 years ago.

      Schneier has a chapter about this in his new book.

    • The greater the amount of the data collected the less useful it is. It becomes a storage and functioning problem.
      The NSA spies on your aging Aunt’s sexual fantasies so the guy with the gyrocopter can post his intentions on social media, fly in highly restricted air space, and land on the most secure lawn in the world.
      Government Intelligence is an oxymoron.

  31. The real question is “who thinks they AREN’T watching you”…heck my own son is a semi-spy for the gubmint. And he’s low level. A switch in the supremes could start an all-out war. A gun behind every blade of grass doesn’t just apply to Germans or japanese…

    • Copy that. That is all.

      *& he shuts up now lest he graduates an order of magnitude on THE list*

  32. If you ever purchased ammo or anything gun related online, you can be certain you are in multiple databases.

    • This is why I have my own NSA agent. We have a quiet relationship, but I say hi to him at the bottom of my emails sometimes.

      Hello, Agent Thomas.

  33. Well, if they’re really watching me…. maybe they can do something useful and tell me who my girl was REALLY out with last night??? Was it really Movie night with the Girls, or is something else going on?

    As far as me, heck, I don’t have anything to hide. And I’m really hoping my girl doesn’t either! lol

  34. We’ve been monitored since right after 9/11, when GW Bush conspired with every telecommunications provider to hard-wire every telephone line – en masse – at the major switching hubs across the country. Routing fiber-optic cables capable of handling thousands of calls through a matrixed “snooping switch” has allowed the government to log every connection ever made and to monitor any single conversation going on at any particular moment. They could have obtained the connection history by obtaining a court order for the telco’s call detail records, but that wasn’t good enough because a spy wants 24×7 monitoring capabilities and court orders be damned – too inconvenient to respect the Constitution or our right to privacy.

    And your data collected NEVER gets deleted. Its almost impossible to delete data. It travels all over the networked computers and a copy is created with every transfer. It is cached for immediate use, but remains in the hard drives of every computer it touches and nothing less than a full security wipe & reset of every computer ‘s hard drive would expunge this data. That huge Utah data center is designed to archive every piece of information ever collected for intelligence purposes so that they can process it (data mining) to identify any connections between potential threats, known actions and of course to classify individuals as potential suspects. Just like in Orwell’s “1984”, we are all suspects classified in terms of potential risk to the State.

    That’s the way we’ve been treated since 9/11 when the terrorists won a huge victory by turning our government against us. It will take nothing less than revolutionary action by an elected POTUS to completely revise our broken government’s decision processes, policies, budget and expenditures, social welfare programs and education standards. What we really need is an apolitical genius who will respect our Constitution first and foremost and establish a standard in our country that stipulates that State governments must rescind any regulation deemed to violate our Constitutional Rights – sort of what Pennsylvania is doing in it’s “firearms preemption legislation” to eliminate restrictive gun laws enacted by local governments that are in violation of the state’s laws.

    “Our” government has a history of ignoring the Constitution and looking the other way when convenient, as proven post 9/11. It isn’t even ashamed or apologetic after being exposed. We desperately need transparency at every level of the government and our next presidential candidates should all be subjected to signing commitments to upholding the Constitution without exception and to open the budget for a complete review by a citizen oversight committee comprised of voter from the entire country. We need to revolutionize the voting and campaign finance process so that we can get better candidates who aren’t in the pockets of industry and fat cats – the 2% who control almost every aspect of our government. Make public office a term-limited proposition that doesn’t give politicians the opportunity to be influenced by special interests – yes, including the NRA.

    For the People by the People first and foremost – PLEASE! Let’s solve this issue so future generations don’t have to suffer the abusive government dishes out today.

  35. Let’s see … I’m a veteran, have an advanced degree, Benefactor member of the NRA, concealed carry permit, post to this web site, write letters to my political reps and to the newspaper on firearms issues … I’m on so many lists they probably get confused. And they have my kind permission to kiss my a** and bark at the hole.

  36. As others have noted, the data points tracked on virtually any internet communication, cell, or even hard-wired land line are practically limitless. Guns are just one check box on a list that includes a great many columns of items in each data set.

  37. I was listening to the Illinois Senate hearings when concealed carry was being talked about. The Illinois State police let slip that they run a NICS check daily on everyone in the state with a Firearm Owners Identification card. So yes… Considering there are at least if not more than, 365 background checks performed on each gun owner every year… Gun owners in Illinois are under the eye of the government a bit more than your average citizen.

  38. OK, summarizing the tech / collection and politics / encroachment analysis above – correct, both from multiple people – I can come up with this:

    It depends on what the meaning of “is” “database” is.

    Of course there is a federal registry of citizen gun owners – in effect. They’ll do whatever they can to make such a registry in effect, while denying that they have one in fact, exactly. Forbid “the feds”, “maintaining”, a “registry” of “firearms”, and they’ll lawyer their way through the words any way they can, and to do whatever they can to get what they want, and they can *do* a lot of things, technically.

  39. I started writing letters to my local, state and federal elected representatives in the 1970’s including all the Presidents of these United States starting with Nixon. I am absolutely, positively 100% sure I have a file that originally started out written on paper before ‘puters took over. I have purchased firearms, ammo, and other things the gubmint keeps track of. I own and have used my passport to travel internationally. I got married overseas requiring me to interact with the American Embassy in the Philippines. I have been a member of the NRA since 1975, and was once active in the Citizens committee for the right to keep and bear arms andI have in the past subscribed to magazines like Soldier of Fortune, Guns & Ammo, and have ordered books that are probably on some watch list. So oh yeah, I am being watched. I sometimes wave at the people in the black SUV near me when I park at the store, I sometimes wave at the helicopters that fly overhead and at the satellites that blink at me in the night time sky. I never thought of a name for the guy watching me, but perhaps it is also special agent Thomas.

  40. Whatever list I’m on must have a header marked “boring”. I get up, take the kids to school, work every day there is work to be had. I do chores around the house when there’s no work, look at a little gun porn, occasionally buy a prepper item or two, comment on TTAG, pick up the kids from school, make dinner and peruse the internets or read a book until bed time. Lather, rinse repeat.
    Such a militant.

  41. Is the Pope Catholic?
    Does Piers Morgan hate firearm freedom?
    Does california boarder the ocean?

    Lets get some hard questions.

    Im sure the gov knows how many NeverEnoughAmmo videos I watch and how many time I check TTAG.

  42. The question isn’t whether I have it or if they know.
    I believe it’s what are they willing to lose to get it?
    Not willing to lose any sleep over it that’s what the dogs n alarm are for and good luck with that.

  43. Yes they are. With 15 years of FBI background checks for concealed carry, my c&r license renewals and 5 NFA stamps I’m sure my name has made it onto a list somewhere.

  44. I bought a parts kit some years back from a mail order supplier that sold 10s of 1000s of these kits, I decided I didn’t want to build it or have it built and let it go really cheap in a garage sale, needless to say about 3yrs later I did have an ATF agent contact me on it and it’s where abouts!!! So yes this answered that question some years ago. I’m not paranoid I have witnessed 1st hand as to there actions and willingness to keep track of what they are able!!

  45. I’m certain that virtually every shred of information pertaining to me is in some database somewhere, be it paper, magnetic tape, flash drive, whatever. Hell, certain people, probably a LOT of certain people, have greater access to my own medical records than I do. HIPPA doesn’t mean dick.

    What I worry about, personally, is the ever deepening cultural chasm between free people and slaves. At this point, most of the slaves in our country are slaves because they either want to be slaves or just don’t know better. Take Maryland, and Baltimore in particular. Look at the cesspool it’s become. This I can tell you – I would not in my right mind, ever, set foot in the state of Maryland, with or without a gun, if I can help it. Or if I had to drive to say, New Hampshire, I’d cross Maryland at its narrowest point (Cumberland), avoid New Jersey entirely and cross New York by the shortest practical route between Pennsylvania and Vermont. Even if I didn’t have a gun.

    Something I ought to say, and I say this as seriously as I can. I respect and get along with peace officers, so long as I’m treated with respect in return. But I am not, repeat NOT, going to be cowed, by a dipshit cop with a bad attitude. Demand to see a gun that’s not even in the vehicle just because it showed up on the computer and i assure you that cop will be in for a most excruciating experience, the likes of which will make him/her to never work in law enforcement again, because the fact of the matter is that such an officer should not.

    Since I don’t think an encounter is worth the legal and personal risk, I’d just as soon avoid visiting any slave state if at all possible. That would mean Nazifornia, Hawaii in the West, New York, New Jersey, Assachewshits, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland in the North, and unfortunately that would automatically cut off all the free states north of Maryland. Thankfully, with the exception of my cousin and his folks in San Jose, I don’t have any family in any of the slave states in question. And my cousin’s apparently a lost cause, so screw him.

    This is what our country has come to. Really swell, ain’t it? 🙁

    Tom

  46. Let’s be honest, not really much of a question, is it? Yes, undoubtedly yes.
    Hey, Bob at GCHQ. How’s the wife and kids?

  47. I’d be surprised if I wasn’t on a watch list, honestly. Above average IQ, ex military, trained in CT tactics, multiple firearms, former TS and SCI clearance, memorized targeting codes for Tomahawk missiles, my dad worked on special projects for the Star Wars project… And a few things I can’t talk about. If they aren’t watching people like me, I’d be more worried. They SHOULD know where people like me are. While I would never do anything against the Constitution I swore to defend, I wouldn’t blame them for keeping tabs.

  48. Lets see, I have a Curio and Relic FFL, I live in one of the border states and have purchased multiple semi automatic rifles at a time, so I’ve been reported there, I regularly read and irregularly comment at TTAG. I’m subscribed to every local gun group on FB and several national specialty gun groups. I am an active member of the NRA and the AZ CDL (our state gun lobby), and sport their bumper stickers on my car.

    If they’re not watching me yet, they’re not trying, but I’ll give them another chance when my trust does a “build an sbr” request or when I buy my first silencer.

    • You are correct. Governments can identify almost all Americans who are moderately active in using guns. That, however, is a problem quite distinct from being able to identify every gun we possess – i.e., national registration.

      As long as gun owners represent 40% or more of the population governments are not going to be able to round-up all the guns by knocking on the doors of identifiable gun owners. That’s not much of a threat for the foreseeable future.

      IF-and-when governments can round-up guns by make+model+serial with the owner’s name and address we will be well on our way to confiscation. It’s apt to start with the evil-gun-de-jure. It won’t matter if that type is a hand-gun or the fearful “assault weapon”. As soon as one type is successfully confiscated it will be followed by the next.

      I think we have far more to fear from the 20-year retention period for FFLs to keep 4473 forms than from anything else.

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