FOIA Requests: A Weapon We Can All Use To Fight the Anti-Gun Industry

Foia Freedom Of Information Act FOIA

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As we are all aware, AstroTurf groups such as Shannon Watts’s Moms Demand Action (which is a copy cat of another movement from the early 2000’s that faded) are very good at what they do: getting attention. They are at city council meetings, county board meetings, and, as we have seen recently in districts in Illinois, even at school board meetings.

They have two goals. The first is getting Michael Bloomberg’s their agenda enacted. The second is getting publicity in order to get their brand out for recruitment and positive press, in which they even attempt to lure unsuspecting firearms trainers to help spread their anti-gun message.

They are ready at a moment’s notice and the local chapters work together to back each other up when needed. Like it or not, they’re influential to people in power. They are organized and united in their mission.

Given that, what’s something that you, a reader and average gun owner who works a 9 to 5 job and can’t be an on-call billionaire’s activist can do that takes little to no effort, but can help fight the well funded anti-gun activist groups? You can file a FOIA request with your local government bodies. And you do not have to be Judicial Watch to do it.

Where do you start? How about your local public high school district? You could find something good that you can submit to your local press and they just might run a story on the findings if they’re interesting enough.

What’s not in that link above is the actual document, so here you go.

Provided by individual

Busting county political party heads who use taxpayer resources and work on behalf of gun control organizations to recruit kids in school is bad enough. But how about catching a local Moms Demand Action chapter using a public high school to recruit students as props for an event with a U.S. Congressman and Shannon Watts so that they can use kids as props for their agenda?

Another Interesting thing here is that the Congressman, Rep. Brad Schneider, seems to have given the marching orders to MDA.

Images provided by requester

School districts are a hit or miss. Most of what you receive back is just “junk” emails that Everytown/Moms Demand Action send out to everyone on their mailing lists.

The best results come when you pry into local governments. Can you imagine the outrage that might ensue from a mayor allowing Moms Demand Action to use police resources at their convenience in order to keep people away from their meetings in public places?

And no, the NRA never sent out an alert for people to attend MDA gatherings here.

Provided by requester

Sometimes, you need to go big, such as seeing what’s going on after a tragedy in which the mayor states he belongs to Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns (Everytown).

It was pretty disgusting that Everytown jumped at the opportunity to use the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in order to advance their anti-preemption agenda almost immediately (the Tree of Life shooting was 10/27/18…check the dates on emails).

These emails confirmed very early on that Everytown‘s Eric Tirschwell was the legal driving force behind the Pittsburgh gun ban.

This one came from Paul John, Everytown’s manager or “mayoral outreach.”

Images provided by requester

Lastly, some FOIA work and a little research can further reveal agendas after other tragedies, such as the Highlands Ranch STEM school shooting in which the students walked out of the vigil that was organized for them.

Full story (and FOIA work) on how the vigil was organized and by who here.

As a new contributor to TTAG, why is this being published? What does this have to do with what’s going on around the country now?

These findings were uncovered by individuals who became “accidental activists” just like the NPC’s (non-playable characters) who comprise the ranks of the gun grabbing orgs. The difference is we don’t think and act like a herd. We’re able to do this as individuals who are not associated with any organization and pass the info on or publish it to social media.

As for what does this have to do with what’s happening today, the answer is simple: we as Second Amendment activists and gun owners need all hands on deck.

This is something that can be done fairly quickly and effortlessly. It’s as simple as Googling the government body you wish to FOIA (Ex: “Cheyenne Park District FOIA request”) and submitting a request in a fashion similar to this:

Good Morning/Evening/Afternoon,

I’d Like to submit a FOIA request for the following:

All emails sent to and sent from employees/officials between xx/xx/xx and xx/xx/xx and the followings groups (group name would be located in the email body or email signature).

-(group name)

-(group name)

This is a personal request and not for commercial purposes. Any hits can be emailed back to me at this email address in digital format. Thank you for your assistance in this matter.

Sincerely,

Your Name (Doesn’t need to be your real name unless they ask you for it) 

It’s that simple in most cases. Sometimes a fee may be associated with the search depending on the state/number of documents requested. They will inform you before they release the requested documents, though. You can chose not to pay and let the request go if you wish.

Hopefully you found this inspirational and choose to give it a shot. You have nothing to lose. Be prepared, though. Some shady state and local governments don’t like to give you the information you’re asking for (even after the newly-elected governor signs a executive order on transparency).

It has to make you wonder why.

 

comments

  1. avatar strych9 says:

    It’s not a terrible idea. I talked a year or so ago about how these people are spooled up and ready to roll at any time.

    It would also be interesting to figure out how to “cast a wider net” to get information on some of the other firms that are involved in this.

    1. avatar Sigiloso says:

      See the part where it talks about the STEM shooting (the “here” part). Give you an idea of the web that these groups have

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        I’m not talking about gun control organizations and teacher’s unions.

    2. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      “It would also be interesting to figure out how to “cast a wider net” to get information on some of the other firms that are involved in this.”

      Yeah, it would be. Finding a disgruntled insider may be a worthy effort.

      One thing about FOIA requests, there isn’t a damn thing you can do about a bureaucrat-droid that takes a FOIA request, briefly looks at it, and then sticks it in a drawer and conveniently forgets about it. Or just sits on it for an extended length of time, and then claims they can’t find the records. Especially problematic if stores of records were moved from place-to-place over the years, as buildings get decrepit and fall into disrepair.

      You’re nearly always forced to take their word for it…

      1. avatar Sigiloso says:

        While true in some cases (especially at higher levels), it’s not as much the case at local levels. Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t attempt it. The problem areas (where MDA and friends operate) is at the village/town/city level, schools, Libraries and such. They comply roughly 95% of the time in our experiences.

      2. avatar strych9 says:

        The real issue with FOIA is that you’re asking the other guy to go behind the curtain and get you something. So you have to know the groups of people you want information on. If you request information on Group X you get information on them but miss the stuff on Group Y that you didn’t knwo was involved.

        If you don’t ask for it in the right way you can miss a gold strike that you don’t know exists. Because of the nature of the way some of these groups work with subsidiaries and using multiple company names “dynamite fishing” for them can be difficult because you really don’t know what to ask for. You just ask and see what you get.

        1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

          “If you don’t ask for it in the right way you can miss a gold strike that you don’t know exists.”

          Yeah, out of frustrations with internet search engines I picked up on that pretty early. At least with search engines, especially ‘advanced search’ fields like “exact phrase” and “none of these words”. Potent stuff. It forces you to think outside the box, and it can pay off.

          Good for digitized records, it can backfire when asking the same human 5 different ways on a question. They can tire real quickly if the same person hits them again and again, and just say fuckit and toss the requests. Dealing with meat-bags can take some finesse, and some of them (like me) suck at it. I’d make a lousy hacker with poor “social engineering” skills, unlike someone with advanced skills like Kevin Mitnick…

  2. avatar I Haz A Question says:

    If a government agency requests information from me, can I submit a form with all lines redacted/blacked out? If the governments around us are made up of the body public, isn’t the tactic good for all?

    1. avatar strych9 says:

      You can but it doesn’t fall under the heading of “advisable”.

  3. avatar M1Lou says:

    Unless that data is Secret or PII, then why is it redacted? They are not a federal government entity and that is a list that doesn’t include PII from the body of the email. It is a list and should not be redacted.

    1. avatar Sigiloso says:

      The person who did that request that did a somewhat broad request. When they tried to narrow it down and did a 2nd request for what was specifically in that email, they were told to F off

      1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

        That can backfire as well, the clerk can realize what time-sink that will be and ‘dispose’ of the request.

        An old saying I learned in early 90s when a ton of bullshit work got dropped in our laps – “You make it hard, I’ll make it easy.” What the person making the request doesn’t know about the data they seek can often not hurt them, if a level of care is taken. (In that particular job, chemical samples that no longer exist cannot be re-run. Old assay data can be creatively ‘recycled’ to make it look fresh and new… 😉 )

  4. avatar FedUp says:

    Pro tip: If you’re making an image of a text page, .JPEG makes it fuzzy.
    Try .PNG instead. (or were .jpegs what gov’t employees gave out in response to a FOIA request?)

    1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      Coffee cup ring stains can also smear or ‘blur’ ink… 🙂

    2. avatar Dave G. says:

      @FedUp:
      How about .PDF???

  5. avatar Kyle says:

    And the government wonders why, increasingly, we no longer want them.

    …in any capacity.

    1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      The competent ones rarely need governmental oversight. It’s the incompetent ones that want their hands held. They *want* government…

  6. avatar D Y says:

    Not to be cynical, but cynically, what difference does it make? Facts don’t matter, convicted felons are elected, state governments sue their own citizens when ballot initiatives pass they don’t like, and the courts, paid by the government, side with the government.

    The people who elect these morons don’t give a damn what you find unless its molesting kids. When outnumbered, as many of us are in liberal states, there certainly doesn’t seem to be any hope, except to get more folks out to vote that are halfway rational.

    1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      “The people who elect these morons don’t give a damn what you find unless its molesting kids.”

      The old saying about what used to be a guaranteed kill of a political career, to be caught with a dead girl, or a live boy… 😉

      1. avatar Dave G says:

        Geoff:
        “…to be caught with a dead girl…”

        Remember Teddy Kennedy. He got away with it. Most likely because hem had lots of money.

    2. avatar Sigiloso says:

      Many don’t care, that’s correct in many cases. However, how would you feel if your personal emails to officials were leaked out through legal means? There’s a LOT that wasn’t published in this article due to the fact it would be extremely long if it was. Now, how would you feel, as a parent, if MDA was using their position in a public school (taxpayer funded) in order to recruit kids for gun control organizations, give them their talking points, and ALSO promising them contacts for their work?

      Related to a FOIA in the article
      https://ilwd4cr.home.blog/2019/04/12/in-reaponse-to-the-flak-caught-from-yesterdays-release-rep-schneider-shannon-watts-document-especially/

      The thing that needs to stop with all of this (in the schools) is that these groups need to stop using school district resources as a communication tool to recruit, advise, and distribute material for their non-school related agenda. If you’re a parent that has a high school student (and if the gun grabbers are active in your area), submit a FOIA and see what pops up. If communications do, you have every right to complain to the district (if there’s collusion) and tell them to knock it off immediately

      1. avatar D Y says:

        “…How would you feel…”

        I’d be infuriated. And as all this happens, I’m infuriated daily. But I understand freedom, and at least a modicum of what the framers had in mind for this Country, and I actually believe in it.

        Our opponents are amoral. If it suits their purposes and furthers the agenda, there is no wrong too far out of bounds to achieve it. And they have enough supporters, elected and non-elected individuals, and lower court judges in place to let them get away with nearly anything.

        What is found in these reports isn’t surprising anymore. It’s also not surprising there isn’t public outrage. That there isn’t, is indicative of the problem that exists. The playbook doesn’t change, just a different player every day.

        As a for instance, I don’t need a FOIA request to figure that with the mayor of Tacoma having participated in Bloomberg sponsored “initiatives”, the recent Tacoma city council decision (8-0) to tax the sale of ammunition was anything other than the result of Bloomberg influence. The tax on a right should itself be subject for outrage, but who is, other than gun owners?

        1. avatar Sigiloso says:

          Perhaps a FOIA is in order lol.

          Stuff like those could POSSIBLY discover pay for play (hey, tax ammo and I’ll sponsor an event in the city)

          That said, Bloomberg isn’t stupid. Still worth a shot though

    3. avatar Hydguy says:

      Molesting kids is okay by liberal standards.
      And if you think I’m wrong, I’ll just name a few liberals who are chomos and darlings of the left: Harvey Milk, Bill Clinton, Bob Menendez, Joe Morrisey…

  7. avatar Sam Hill says:

    Where the hell did all these sheeples come from? What happened to the parents that was supposed to raise these meatheads. A bunch of somebody’s didn’t just drop the ball, they threw it down. The educational system got corrupted by the government but how did the government go so dingbat seemingly overnight? I honestly don’t have a clue, maybe nobody does.

    1. avatar Sigiloso says:

      Look at who the teacher’s unions are allied with…….

      https://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/keepingourschoolssafe2019.pdf

  8. avatar David F says:

    The FOIA Project at the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse –
    FOIA Suits Rise Because Agencies Don’t Respond Even As Requesters Wait Longer To File Suit

    http://foiaproject.org/2019/12/15/foia-suits-rise-because-agencies-dont-respond-even-as-requesters-wait-longer-to-file-suit/

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