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I’ve heard a lot of concern from the People of the Gun about universal background checks. I’m concerned too. As recent events in Canada have borne out, a registry can all too easily lead to confiscation. But, we’ve missed an important development — the government already has a registry of which citizens have guns and which don’t. It’s called the internet . . .

When you log onto the internet from your home, your internet service provider (Comcast, AT&T, etc.) can track what sites you visit, and how often. The fact that you are reading this entry is being logged. Have you ever Googled something gun-related, like “.45 ammo for sale”? Google, Inc. probably logged that and has a profile of you that says “probable gun owner”. Have you ever made a post about guns on Facebook, even just to mention a day at the range? Facebook, Inc. logged that. Your ISP, Google and Facebook are all American companies, subject to American subpoenas, and they can’t even disclose that they’ve received a subpoena for your internet history.

If you (like me) are a heavy user of Google, you can check what Google, Inc. knows about you right now. Go to and look under ‘interests’. Does that describe you pretty well? Does it have your age and sex down? You’ll notice that Google doesn’t publicly list that you are interested in guns because it doesn’t allow advertising based upon “objectionable” content (try using the tool to add “guns” or “firearms” as interests…you’ll find it doesn’t let you). Still, considering the things it lists, is it too far-fetched to think that it knows that you keep a firearm at home?

You might think, “I’ll just browse from the local Starbucks or work and avoid Google.” Won’t work. Key loggers can profile the way that you type, not to mention that if you so much as check your e-mail or Facebook, your identity can be determined by your ISP. The only thing that might work is to avoid the internet entirely (which would probably make Mr. Farago pretty sad) and live in the woods. But, I’m betting that most of you are like me and will continue to use the internet as we have, unwilling to give up the convenience and benefits.

So, what do we do? How do we live in this brave new world where Big Data can reveal everything about us to both companies and the government? We adapt. I don’t see the point in fighting universal background checks or the resultant gun registry anymore, apart from the abstract principle.

Like Alan Gottlieb and the SAF, I’d be fine with allowing the creation of a gun registry if we had to. Not because I’m okay with compromising our rights, but because I’m willing to accept the reality that this particular aspect of our rights is gone and won’t come back so long as we have and use the internet. What should we trade for, and why?  There is only one thing worth trading this for: national pre-emption of all state-level gun restrictions and concealed carry.

The fact is Cliven Bundy might be a racist piece of @#$@, but if the confrontation there has shown us anything, it’s this: the only real thing that will stop federal action to confiscate guns is lots and lots of guns possessed by lots and lots of people. All the Supreme Court rulings aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. If Antonin Scalia has a heart attack in the next two years and President Obama can appoint a liberal justice, constitutional gun rights are finished faster than you can say “Heller has been overturned”.

To protect our rights, we need to expand the gun culture into the birthplace of gun control — urban, largely Democratic America. The Armed Citizen Project has done some good work, but it’s not nearly enough. We need the federal government to step in pre-empt all state regulation to protect gun rights (which, ironically, the federal government can do under the 2nd Amendment), and help us get more guns in the hands of more good, trained people.

The fact of the matter is that it is not viable (or legal) for a citizen to carry or even really possess a firearm in far too many areas of the country comprising far too much of the population. Right now, who would bother to buy a gun in Los Angeles? If you live in a house with kids, you may have to keep it unloaded or use a trigger lock regardless of how old or trained the kids are. And forget trying to carry it outside to work or anywhere where it might be useful, no one can get a permit.

This effective inability to possess and carry a firearm breeds a distrust and hatred of all firearm owners. A national pre-emption and concealed carry bill will vastly increase the incentive to train, purchase, and carry a gun.

For an object lesson, look at Illinois. The number of gun purchases skyrocketed after the court struck down the old laws, and crime hasn’t gone up significantly at all. Even if the Court reversed itself tomorrow, how likely do you think it is that Chicago or Illinois would enact the same laws again? Not very. Can you imagine the same thing happening in California, New York City or New Jersey?

Once we start showing that high levels of legal gun ownership deters crime and saves lives (and probably reduces poverty, too by cutting down on the crime rate), we can change the attitudes of the citizenry in places like South Chicago and South-Central LA. Once we do that, we will vastly reduce the likelihood of a roll-back of our rights due to the death of one Supreme Court justice or a reaction to one mass shooting.

Privacy is dead. All our agitating against a gun registry misses the point. If you’re reading this on TTAG, the government can find out you own a gun. The only thing that will guarantee that our country will remain free of tyranny is to take a risk and to try and change the culture of urban America.

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  1. Abandoning all online activities and going to live “off the grid” in the woods or whatever would surely get your name on some list faster than ANYTHING you could do/say online.

    • Ain’t dat the troot. There have already been several cases where people were punished for making that move.

    • I don’t post anything firearm related that was designed (but not necessarily made) after 1900 on Facebook. If its older than that, I consider it safe for the possibility of public dissemination. That rule basically rules everything “scary” out. So Mosin’s, old revolvers, and lever guns pretty much.

      Nothing I can do about google though. Even if you don’t personally use the browser or google to search, their adsense is everywhere. I bet the government even has their own convenient little search page so they can google search the database.

  2. >”If you (like me) are a heavy user of Google, you can check what Google, Inc. knows about you right now. Go to and look under ‘interests’. Does that describe you pretty well? Does it have your age and sex down?”

    Mine is blank. And my age is a decade off, though the sex is right.

    • Mine is surprisingly benign. Sci fi tv shows, parenting for some reason, and cartoons. Those last 2 might be related.

      • It means there’s some dissonance between our old concept of Tom in Oregon and the new reality. But don’t worry. The POTG are an accepting bunch.

    • All of that stuff for me says unknown. There must be an opt out feature somewhere because thats what mine says under opt out settings. Under interests it says Government and veterans issues. I am a govt employee and a vet, but I look at gun stuff and politics WAY more than vet related stuff.

    • There actually is a “Hunting and Shooting” interest. Weird how I didn’t have that, but it did have hair care, hip hop and eat Asian music as my interests. Oh well, I have ad blocker, so none of that affects what I see.

    • Tried the link. Got this:

      Cookies are disabled

      Your browser’s cookies seem to be disabled. Ads Settings will not work until you enable cookies in your browser.

  3. According to my google ad settings, I’m 18-24 years old.

    Haaaaaaaaaaaa! I have clothing older than that. And they still fit.

    If the G didn’t need a registry, it wouldn’t be trying to create one. So no registry. No sellouts. No tradeoffs. Not now. Not ever.

      • Okay, I’m willing to go back to being a teenager, but this time without acne and with a valid driver’s license.

        And of course, I’ll want my old prostate back.

        • I don’t feel 65. I feel like a guy in his twenties with a hangover who lost the bar fight last night.

        • “… old prostate …”
          Masturbate more. The prostate is just a muscle after all, and needs exercise just like any other muscle! When I was about 20-ish, in the service, overseas, I came down with congestive prostatitis mainly from dehydration – too much beer, no water. Anyway, the prescription was to drink a lot of water and have as many ejaculations as possible. Doctor’s orders! And to this day, no doctor has told me to stop.

        • Thanks for sharing Rich, with that data point, I’m staying just outside sticky range.

  4. “There is only one thing worth trading this for: national pre-emption of all state-level gun restrictions and concealed carry.”

    No, I’d be more than willing to trade them for an open MG registry.

    • Why would that be your first concern? If everyone across America just figured out that guns are not a problem, a roll back of NFA wouldn’t be too big a deal.

      Other way around only helps people who have firearms and just want that one last toy to add to the collection. It doesn’t help a thing.

      • Around the 8 month mark on my wait for permission to make an sbr and my silencer. Restrictions on safety equipment and barrel length limits seems like the definition of an arbitrary law that doesn’t serve the public interest.

  5. This isnt anything new brought about by the internet (well it is internet related but it goes back to dial up/ telephone lines). Unless you paid cash for every firearm, accessory, range trip, ammo, etc sover the last 20 years or so then that data is all available without google/ big data.

  6. Heh.

    Its actually pretty amusing looking at what Google thinks it knows about me.

    I’m less worried now, actually.


  7. The state of NJ has had a registry for decades. They have a list of every gun I bought while I was a resident there. Ans since I’m an actual old fart, many of the gun stores I bought firearms from since the 1970’s have gone out of business and their bound books I believe get turned in to BATFE (and really big fires) so the fed gubment has a list of everything I have bought in the two states I have lived in long enough to purchase guns. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that they KNOW what I have, when and where I got them, and probably what I paid for them.

  8. I am with Ralph. There is a huge difference between a gun registry (where they know exactly who you are and what you have) and attempting to infer those things collecting data from the internet. I am in the IT field. You have to appreciate the size of the effort needed to do what you are talking about. The hardware costs alone would run into the billions.

    • You are aware that the Fed is printing $65 billion per month (down from $85 billion) which the government borrows and we pay back – at interest – via our taxes. Does the cost stop them from funding the NSA, PRISM, ECHELON, etc.?

      An Oracle or SQL Server database with the names, addresses, and (gun) purchase history of gun owners would be no more difficult/expensive than the current drivers license registries, (recently-discovered) license plate dbs, etc.

      • A list of guns purchased is not the same as a working registry. Those guns could have been re-sold or traded at any time. There is no verifiable evidence that the purchaser still owns anything.

        • True. Owners to guns are a one-to-many relationship while gun to owner is one-to-one. All that would be required is to have a table of guns’ serial numbers and join it to an owners’ table. It would not require any great effort or expense whatsoever.

        • Hmm,
          thought 1: how do they get a serial number when there are private sales?
          Thought 2: is ‘);DROP TABLE * ; a good serial number?

    • This is a true story (although I do not the link but I am sure it is easy to find) — A women took her dog to a dog park and posted on her Facebook Page to her friends how her Puppy loved the park although she had been there without a permit. The police sent her a ticket in the mail the next day.

      If they are wasting time right now giving people who took their puppy to a park without a permit to the park, they are more than happy to waste your tax dollars to find firearms they want to take. There are plenty of 3rd party willing to sell you their data science and computers to give you the necessary information for a price and tools like GoogleVis will allow you to scan twitter and other feeds for free.

      Computing resources is not a barrier. What people need to understand is that privacy died a long time ago and government do not give a crap about your privacy

  9. Of course they do, or MI6 does. So what? Given that the law prohibits them from having one, they can’t pull stunts like what the Canadian government did. I don’t care if they know (I don’t want them to know, but ideals and reality are different). There is simply nothing they can do about it. 100 million owners at a minimum. Total boots on the ground between federal armed forces and all state and local police; maybe 4 million if they are lucky. Nobody wants to be at the tip of the spear. The feds included.

    • That’s true in theory, but they know that and only need to go after a few, making an example and scaring the rest into compliance.

  10. I would’ve figured the script blockers I use would prevent a lot of that unwanted spying. For example google analytics has been blocked for a few years now.

    • Your ISP has all of the data. And if the NSA is recording the information from your ISP (which Snowden certainly believes they do), they have the information. You can block third party scripts, but you can’t block your own ISP.

      Since TOR was developed by the US government, it wouldn’t surprise me to find they also have a back door into TOR.

      And if your ISP is Google (Google Fiber)…

  11. “..Like Alan Gottlieb and the SAF, I’d be fine with allowing the creation of a gun registry if we had to.”

    Yes. But no.

    The answer is the same as the question about ‘mental illness.’

    Who is responsible for the list? And who is liable for mistakes?

    Google ‘suspecting’ that I have firearms is one thing. The government having a verifiable list with the number and kind of firearms is something completely different.

    Yes, the concept of ‘privacy’ is reached a laughable low in terms of the internet, there is still at least some level of plausible deniability. I will admit to owning firearms, publicly, on just about any digital channel out there. I will not be confirming to anyone how many, what kind, and where they are stored without first being presented a warrant for that information.

    That is the difference between ‘information’ and ‘knowledge.’ The internet is information, a registry is knowledge. The government has no business knowing what I own when owning that thing is something completely legal to own.

  12. Don’t care. I have a carry permit. I know I’m on a list, maybe dozens. Note my real friggin’ name on my posts. They know I have guns, I know they know, etc. When they want me, or any of us, they’ll just pick us up on an unrelated matter. 7000+ page tax code anyone? If you decide you’re not going without a fight, the IRS will send a tac-team. Or the post office, or any of the armed federal bureaus. I guarantee you’re in violation of dozens of rules you don’t even know about.

  13. I paid cash (or in one case, a big bottle of Jack) for every one of my guns, making the transactions in parking lots like a proper hoodlum. Even so, I make no illusions about the fact that Google and at least a half dozen government entities likely know more about my habits than I know myself.

  14. I could not disagree with this enough. While it may be easy to determine, through my web browsing, phone calls, letters to representatives, and various other sources, that I am a gun owner, that sure as Hell isn’t the same as a registry! Those sources don’t provide how many firearms I own, let alone the make, model, and serial number of each of those firearms. Theoretically, yes, the government could probably go door to door of known gun owners tomorrow, but they wouldn’t know what they’d be looking for. With a registry, they know exactly what you have….and if you don’t have what you’re supposed to, you’re still guilty. NOT the same thing.

  15. Ability to conduct a search on your history and past preferences to determine the number and type of firearms you have is still different than a full blown registry. But “compromise” to make it even easier for them, as well as give them the complete authority to punish you if you ever misrepresent or fail to update your registry is supposed to be better than the latter? I thought the choice was obvious.

  16. there are huge differences between knowing with a high certainty that an individual owns guns and a registry of which guns and how many.

    With google there is some certainty of ownerip but nothing specific, and that leaves doubt. There are also ghosts (false positives) – people who don’t own guns but have an interest, for whatever reason, in browsing related materials. These provide additional uncertainty. This means the info about ownership may be out there, but it is not actionable.

    A government gun registry on the other hand is more specific, and informed, and thus actionable, with all the negative consequences this implies.

    So quit muddying the water on this issue. These two things are NOT the same!

  17. Never mind the Internet. How many gun related items do you receive through the US Postal Service? Magazines (Shooting Times, Guns & Ammo, fliers, etc.) They’ve been tracking you for years. It’s kind of like guarding your Social Security Number is such a big deal now. Crap, not too many years ago you were required to give it for any number of reasons. It was even our Military Service Number. Guess we need to get over it; “THEY” literally have your number.

  18. And every time you do buy a gun , they keep a copy. that is why they hate gun shows and private sales , support your local shops too… use cash as much as you can , and your grand moms attic is the best place to keep off the record sales…and last take a non-shooter to the range so the shooter side grows bigger….

  19. Chip nailed it above- what the internet collects via Google is information, raw data. An actual registry is Intel- no sifting required, who you are, what you own, and where you own it- and is much more damning. The fact that we don’t have a registry yet is the reason we can still sit across from the table of these people and tell them “no.”

  20. Opt out of the ads and google will track less.

    As to the current crop of anti gunners, we will lose in the long run as they currently are running the government. It is only a matter of time. They have the health care telling us guns are bad, they are indoctrinating our children in the public schools guns are bad. All of TV is aimed at guns being bad in general context.

    We are screwed.

  21. No Scheiss, Sherlock!

    I got this in the email from the bay:

    And I don’t even own a gun! Yes, I’m a poser. I have fired other people’s guns, and I owned a Lorcin .25 once, which I had bought for $50 about 20 years ago in CA, and all the guy wanted was a receipt. I sold it later for $75. I didn’t like it. The little bitty slide gave me 100 little bitty slide bites, all in the same spot.

    So I better hurry up and buy something while I still can! I have a Turners not too far from here, so one of these days I’ll jump on the bus…

  22. I think that the Author’s point of view is off the mark by a shot. He is talking about a trade so that a firearms registry is allowed to be created, but what good does a registry do? I have lived my entire life out here in Kalifornia, where we have high gun crime areas and a long standing handgun registry. Never have I once seen any indication that the handgun registry has been used to locate a criminal. At the very best it has been used to MAYBE find who the firearm was stolen from, or legally sold from last.

    If we want to talk about a compromise of something in order to secure immediate freedoms, we should be pointing our fingers at “Universal Background Checks.” While it is still an infringement, if we could get the system set up correctly so that it is more effective and updated than NICS while staying anonymous enough that it can’t be used as a psudo-registry, I would be willing to sign off on it for some trade.

    While these trade-offs would be 100% detrimental to free states, the few states that have the biggest impact on politics and national views would see the biggest boon.

    So, make EVERY legal gun purchase have to happen through a firearms dealer to do a background check, and in return we get:

    -National Reciprocity of carry permits
    -National Preemption blocking “Assault Weapon” bans and magazine capacity bans
    -National Preemption blocking bans of NFA items
    -Removal of any sign-off for NFA stamp

    Basically, if you want a law that is supposed to check that every person that owns a gun is not a criminal, treat us like we are not criminals. Allow us to carry firearms for self-defense and allow us to own what firearms and accessories we feel are best suited to our uses.

    I would be willing to wait a little while on the opening of the Machine-Gun roster, since I am sure that if this change happened that at some point in the future the nation would realize that an open MG roster would have no effect to anyone other than the select few who have the money to blow ammo as fast as that.

    • I agree with your concept, and I think most gun owners could get on board with that….with one caveat. The background checks, in order to be sure they weren’t used as registry, could only check a person’s eligibility to own a firearm. No information about the gun being purchased could be required.

      • That is exactly how I feel as well. There is no reason any background checks should be linked to a firearm purchase. It should be a background check that COULD be used for anything, but a firearms dealer uses it to check your ability to purchase a firearm.

    • Not one damn inch, not a single compromise more…and here is why.

      You can debate, argue, consider and bargain all you like, but the end game always has and always will be complete civilian disarmament – maybe not now, maybe not in your life-time, but that is the end game.

      So any time there is a discussion about a particular piece of legislation, whether seemingly benign or even advantageous, all you need ask yourself is this;

      What, if anything, will I accept in trade for my complete disarmament?

  23. Cliven Bundy might be a piece of $hit, and he might even be a racist one, but his comments were taken completely out of context.

    For the record, I don’t side with the way he and his family handled (are handling) that whole thing. I also strongly disapprove of the way BLM handled their side. While I’m at it, I also disagree with all the clowns that showed up to “support” the Bundy’s. Pretty much, it was a giant Cluster $&%@ with a bunch of a$$holes on both sides.

  24. Google has lots of “interests” that have nothing to do with me.
    “We need the federal government to step in pre-empt all state regulation to protect gun rights . . . ” This is a scary proposition. I feel safer keeping the Feds confined to inter-state commerce and leaving all 50 States regulating guns within their boarders. So long as gun regulation remains a States rights issue then the Anti’s will have to fight us all the way to the Aleutian Islands before they could succeed. This is a better defensive position to be in.
    I agree that there are too many gun owners for governments to do anything about. Go ahead, knock on my door. I’ll give you a couple of guns. The fact remains that there are so many guns in so many owners’ hands that a list of owners isn’t really helpful.
    What we should be worried about is the 20-year retention period for the 4473 forms. I’m shocked that no one mentions this. With optical scanning and character recognition it’s not far-fetched that these forms could be suddenly collected, scanned and compiled into a record of how many guns each buyer has purchased (at least at FFLs). That constitutes an outstanding temptation for Congress to suddenly seize upon. Within a year or two, the Feds could identify the top couple of quartiles of owners of guns by volume. It wouldn’t be precise; but, if it identified an owner who had bought 50 guns the probability is high that that individual now has 25 – 75 guns. That is enough to target that particular individual to the exclusion of another who has just 1 or 2.
    I am not especially concerned that a few municipalities have a registry for guns owned by their residents; provided, that an owner has no obligation to de-register when he disposes of a gun or moves it outside the municipality. Collecting these records would never represent a threat of a comprehensive confiscation campaign. I am concerned when – e.g. DC – uses a municipal registry to erect a barrier that the average citizen will avoid and forego gun ownership.
    I don’t mind my State (PA) requiring a CCP that costs just $20. Registered CCP holders can be counted and they look like a formidable threat to politicians. I would prefer that the idea of a CCP/CCL be re-cast as a “Background Check Card” or “Good-Guy Card”. As such, it does NOT constitute a “license” or a “permission” granted by government. Instead, it simply evidences what-it-IS: i.e., it IS merely evidence that I cleared a background-check. As such, I have NOT been DIS-abled of my Constitutional rights (to vote, serve on a jury, keep-and-bear arms, etc.)
    Some States have a training requirement. I.e., the law requires that you get training before you can get your card. I’m all for training; but some of us recoil at the requirement as a prerequisite to exercise a Constitutional right. (Rather like a literacy test to vote.) I’d like to see this re-cast somehow. E.g., to make it a misdemeanor to keep or bear when unable to demonstrate knowledge of prescribed safety rules. Taking an NRA course, service in the military, or being able to recite the 3 basic rules (or 12 rules) would constitute demonstration. Perhaps there are better ways to loosen the pretext of “licensing” while still promoting acquisition of knowledge.
    We need to prioritize our goals. In my book, purity in removing the faintest shadow of “infringement” is much less important than in popularizing the 2A as a respected civil right. People of color, aliens, members of unpopular religions, etc. continue to suffer some discrimination; however, each decade, it becomes less overt , more subtle. It is no longer PC to officially or overtly discriminate against these peoples’ civil rights. Yet, it remains PC to discriminate against the exercise or even advocacy of 2A civil rights.
    We need to concentrate on moving the 2A into the mainstream of civil rights. How to do that most effectively? I’m not certain. I think it requires avoiding doing things that are apt to prove counter-productive. The Deacons for Defense and Justice and Black Panthers both included guns in their campaigns. I don’t think the Deacons triggered any back-lash. The Panthers’ left us a legacy of the CA gun-laws. Can we learn anything from this?

  25. That’s all well and good, but if folks ever show up to confiscate, I don’t want them having a list that tells them if they have actually gotten everything or not. I want them to check off whatever list they have and leave satisfied while I still have firearms in reserve.

  26. This is all a little bit to ‘enemy of the state’ conspiracy theorist for me. If you have nothing to hide, what is there to be afraid of?

    I also don’t understand the whole “we have more people than they do. if it came to a fight, we’d have the advantage”. 1, as much as everyone likes to blast the scary cops and evil federal agents here in the comments, I’d wager most of them are just like you and I: trying to make a positive difference. I doubt they would raise up arms against Americans. 2, if it came to that, do you really thing Uncle Sam would fight fair? They’d black bag rebel leaders in the middle of the night or threaten and kill their family members to stop the resistance in it’s tracks, and even if a rebellion were to organize a large force equipped with small arms and the skill to use them, it’d still all be over before you could say “JDAM”. Fat men with a serious lack of military training, physical condition, modern communications, supply lines, and modern small arms would be obliterated by even a much, much smaller military force with access to artillery and complete air superiority.

    • Please let the insurgents all over the Middle East know of your magnificent military theory that nobody can stand against the almighty US. I don’t think they got the message.

      • Every American life lost is a tragedy, but because of the incredible skill and overwhelming technological advantages of our military, we’re averaging about 10 enemy combatants killed for every one American casualty. Like I had said, a dedicated American military force with all the combat support that they enjoy would easily defeat a rag-tag group of rebels, even, as the evidence suggests, if the rebels outnumbered them 5 or 7 to one. The most current war would suggest that even at 10 to 1, a resistance would be reduced to paltry effectiveness.

        • “…Like I had said, a dedicated American military force with all the combat support that they enjoy would easily defeat a rag-tag group of rebels, ”

          If they were up against a rag-tag group of rebels.

          On foreign soil

          That last bit is the important part…. A dedicated American Military force, on foreign soil, with all that stuff does very well. How are they going to do here, on US soil, against neighbors?

          For the military to be deployed against Americans, on American Soil, is not going to be a situation with a bunch of ‘yokels’ forming up a rag-tag anything. If the military is deployed against American’s, on American Soil, it will be a Civil War. And any collateral damage will harm the military more than it will the ‘rebels’ in the war for hearts and minds.

        • That’s why they’re arming up departments like HUD and FDA and NEA, in addition to the ones already armed up, like DHS, and NSA, and so on. They won’t declare war any more than anybody declared war on anyone since WWII – they’ll just kill us all administratively.

    • You underestimate the prophylactic effect of the Framers’ intentions. All your points are well taken. Nevertheless, there are a lot of gun-owners (who can vote) to round-up and piss-off. There are a lot of guns to track-down. No rational government is eager to take that on. And so, if-and-when a government tries it, a bright line will have been conspicuously crossed. When it’s crossed, there might be a reaction; and, the possibility of that reaction will be anticipated by a rational government. If a government proceeds; then, its perception of being rational will come under grave doubt.
      Were it to come to that, it is very difficult to have any confidence in any prediction of the course of events. It is absurd to anticipate that a government would “nuke Newark” or “shell Scranton” or “gas Gettysburg”. Government will do whatever it is that it might do. If it uses excessive force it will write it’s own obituary.
      Some scenario that might be characterized as a long-slow-burn is much more probable. No less devastating; but a different course than we imagine from the history of WW-I and WW-II. Probably, a course of events more like Viet Nam or Afghanistan.
      Let’s recall our own Revolution. Unorganized subjects; the world’s super-power. A long list of grievances long and loudly articulated. An arms embargo followed by a mission to confiscate a magazine in Lexington. Still, it took another year for a Declaration of Independence. Then, a long war with the insurgent general working mostly to preserve his army. If it happened once, can we categorically rule-out it happening again?

  27. Very we’ll written article. It’s true and the only advice I have on the topic is too be damn careful with your sensitive information.

    • Yep, the author obviously just read some headlines and didn’t dig any deeper. Doesn’t necessarily mean that Mr. Bundy isn’t a piece of $hit, after all, I don’t know the man, but those supposedly racist comments he made were completely taken out of context.

      • Just because you don’t know someone, though, you don’t say “they might be a piece of shit.” That just puts the thought in people’s minds. That’s exactly the kind of crap progressives pull all the time.

  28. So the data is out there and can be obtained but there is no list and no one is responsible for the list. Brilliant.

  29. Hotspot shield, Ghostery, Firefox and several add ons for security and DuckDuckGo will prevent tracking. When I google the site mentioned above Ghostery blocks it. I also have an app that blocks all trackers, cookies and google spying.

  30. I think Brownell’s, Midway’s, and Cheaper than Dirt’s mailing lists would serve as a pretty darn good registry. You could probably even come pretty close to figuring out who owns what kind of firearms with their purchase data.

  31. Hmm. I looked at the google link. They had it ALL wrong. So I corrected it. Never knew I’m now a 25yr female into GQ and such 😉

    You can play along with Goolges data-mining, or play it against them 🙂

  32. A Google search or website view is tied to an IP address. An IP address is not a person (a friend/family member could be using the computer; someone else could be accessing your WiFi network, and so on), and judges have agreed with this:

    This of course doesn’t mean they can’t infer from your search history that you own a gun, or consider it highly likely that you do, but it does mean they can’t necessarily prove it without a reasonable doubt.

    An entry in a gun registry, on the other hand, would absolutely be tied to a single person, and would be much, much easier for the government to access/use without restriction.

  33. Just remember that nation-wide preemption goes both ways. When public opinion swings towards gun control the Federal government will pass laws that preempt state laws. Better to fight this on a state-by-state level. The federal government does not need more power.

  34. I use FireFox, with NoScript and Ghostery installed.
    That google ads page shows up almost completely blank, just a Google logo, that is after I tell ghostery to allow Doubleclick, otherwise it will not load at all.
    I do my searches on
    I am considering installing Tor, I run it on my tablet.

    • Have a friend who is a computer geek/nerd. He has ways to test Ghostery, DuckDuckGo and other security measures and tells me they work. Probably makes google crazy

  35. To thwart Skynet/Google, disable cookies in your browser. Easy as cake.

    Also, running Adblock Plus extension helps too!

  36. I am surprised that no one has figured it out yet. Big Brother doesn’t need a firearm registry for confiscation purposes. As pointed out, Big Brother can already determine what type/caliber firearms you have based on your credit card purchases and Internet activity. Big Brother really wants a firearm registry so they have yet more laws to control us and trip us up.

    Think about it. Let’s say you are a political activist that pissed off a politician. In addition to sending the IRS and who knows what additional alphabet agencies to scrutinize your life with a fine-toothed comb, they can also send the ATF to verify every single firearm and serial number in your collection. Any discrepancies? Thwa-bam … off to prison you go. THAT is why we must resist national registration.

  37. Jokes on you, i browse anonymously through Tor, and don’t use my usual surnames for this stuff.

  38. The issues with the registering of guns is not the matter of knowing you’re a gun owner, but knowing what and how many…

    Get mail from the NRA = gun owner
    Purchase guns with plastic = gun owner
    Hunting license = gun owner
    Carry license = gun owner
    Buy ammo online = gun owner

    It’s not hard, but what and how many? That’s the true purpose of a registry.

    So, years from now, when all the future Feinstein types says,” Mr and Mrs American, turn ’em in…” they’ll know who, what, when and how many.

    The why will be irrelevant. It’s all about the end game, ban them a few a time. Turn the heat up slowly.

  39. A de facto “registration” has existed for all dealer-bought items since at least the background check (Brady/FBI). All the ATF has to do is X-ref your background check approval dates with Form 3 transfers from dealer’s inventory + fuzzy-logic to roughly hit it right on the absolute nut.

    But don’t worry, If anyone comes after you and your guns, you can get released to Qatar.

  40. Article said: “Like Alan Gottlieb and the SAF, I’d be fine with allowing the creation of a gun registry if we had to”

    The writer is not a student of history and should not be trusted. Is there an award for Idiot Gun Writer of the Day?

    • Any effective gun registry is out. Not open for discussion.
      An IN-effective municipal registry wouldn’t bother me so much. (E.g., I have a pistol registered in Chicago decades ago. I still have it, but I moved. It’s no longer relevant.)
      A registry at the State level is still a problem. It would not much matter if a few North-Eastern States had State registries. If that number were more-than-a-few it would be a problem. If every State from Maine to Maryland had a registry that would be nearly as severe as a Federal registry.

  41. Google isn’t that good… My age range is right and so is my gender, but the interests are so vast in quantity with many, many false positives. It looks lie the only reason they have any right is the “guess enough things and eventually 1 or 2 will be true.@

    That, or I’m that good at avoiding being pigeonholed by adsense

  42. I have a CC permit, they know I’m a gun owner (and a law-abiding, tax paying one at that).

    I’ve also never bought or sold a firearm without a background check.

    My fear with any ‘let’s make a trade’ scenario is that I DON’T TRUST THEM. You know they’d sneak something in right at the end that would change the whole game – a 7 round Mag limit, a full blown ban anything semi-auto, a training requirement that is logistically unobtainable, make us all march in to be mug-shotted and fingerprinted like criminals – like they tried to do the first time!

    These people are insane, obsessed zealots. We’ve all seen that. Some psycho punk loser kills 3 people with a knife and 3 people with low-capacity gun obtained under CA’s archaic gun laws – and they blame the gun and want MORE gun laws! These people will never stop. All that a national firearm registry does is give them the means to effectuate their end goal – complete disarmament. And all that another Bill does is give them the means to infuse it with a game-changing gun-grabbing caveat.

    Bottom line – I don’t trust them. They are psycho. They had their chance and we saw what they proposed. Basically would have marched us all in like criminals and taken us back to the 1800s with revolvers and lever actions… until they wanted them too.

    • I don’t trust them either. That said, either we garner the legislative votes to push through OUR agenda; or, we make deals; or, we live with the status quo. Those are the three choices.
      Even if we got 5/8 of the House and the Senate on our side, we could not count on “our” representatives to push through legislation we want. Why should they do that for us? We wouldn’t pay them enough to do it. We could have 3/4 or 7/8 of the legislators on our side and they still wouldn’t budge unless we pay them enough to make it worth-their-while.
      The facts of the matter are that we are not going to play the political game astutely enough to get 5/8 – 7/8 of the legislators in Washington to even entertain the possibility of being bought off with campaign contributions. Nor are we willing to pony up the campaign contributions needed to make “our” guys come through for us.
      As long as we are not playing the political game and not paying for results the best we can hope for in Washington is to maintain the status quo. Is that good enough for us? We have to think about that question; are we willing to let what we have continue to exist or do we want roll-back at the Federal level? We could concentrate on our free States making the 40 Shall-Issue/C-C States incrementally freer.
      That strategy leaves the 10 Won’t-Issue States as a dis-armed camp on our borders. These are the population centers in the US. They have substantial control over the US House of Representatives (along with the Anti’s from the Shall-Issue and C-C States). I think it’s a risk to leave the Won’t-Issue States in a state of slavery.
      If we want some progress on the Federal level; including some means of penetrating the Won’t-Issue States then we probably have to consider making a prudent deal somewhere. We all have different ideas of what a prudent deal might look like. For some of us, there is no deal other than: Much-for-Us/Nothing-for-the-Anti’s. How do we gain anything-for-Us without overwhelming control of the votes in Congress; plus, paying for the best congressmen money-can-buy? Seems to be a maintain-the-status-quo strategy.
      What – if anything – are we prepared to offer in trade for objectives we want? Nothing? Do we want to maintain – in the public debate – that there is absolutely nothing we are willing to compromise about in order to achieve some objectives of our own? How does such a position play-out politically?

      • Well, I see your points. And it looks like we’re both in the Commonwealth. But I still don’t trust them man. I would rather see status quo (bordered by slave states) than have some new radical game changing federal anti gun laws. I agree though, if we could somehow push something through that allowed them to ‘claim success’ – and in return ended this siege on our rights and freed our neighbors, then it would be worth trading something for. Like I said, I’m used to background checks. The problem is, I just don’t trust them. Do you? And I recoil at the thought of having to frog march my way in to be mug-shotted and finger printed like a criminal – and having everything loaded up into some registry that they would be able to use at a later date for full confiscation. If we gave them something, you think these zealots would hang up their hat then and get a life? I’m not so sure. They seem like cultists to me. They will not be happy until ‘Mr and Mrs America turn em all in’.

        • “. . . I just don’t trust them. Do you?” I began my remarks with “I don’t trust them either.” So, there is your answer.
          Being background-checked bothers you. So, you are just as entitled to your sentiments as I am to mine. The work that I do requires that I get background-checked on most of my gigs. So, I’ve been background-checked (outside of FFLs) about 2 dozen times. It doesn’t bother me.
          Should society dispense with all/some background checks (apart from those at FFLs)? I suppose we ought to consider them one-by-one. How about for bankers? Stock-brokers? Day-care workers? Elementary-school teachers? High school teachers? Armored curriers?
          Voters? Would you object to election officials cross-checking voter rolls against NICS?
          By no means do I argue that the background checks on guns serve as a cost-effective means of keeping guns out of the hands of the dis-abled. BCs do keep convicted criminals out of work-places; and, probably cost-effectively. Having conceded this point on efficacy, shall we go to the public square and argue for equal access of criminals, crazies, illegal aliens and minors to the market-place of FFLs? How does that – generally – advance our cause? Will non-gun-owners immediately embrace our cause when we argue for elimination of the FFL BC?
          Perhaps these non-gun-owners will confer with their gun-owning neighbors; you know, the guy who has a shotgun he hasn’t used for years. He’s not as principled as you are. He’s apt to express no objection to the BC at FFLs system. We hardly have a consensus on this point.
          There is a smarter approach to the BC issue. Ask that neighbor if he is willing to go to his FFL with his son to BC his son before he can lend his shotgun to his son to go to the range on Saturday. Or, to lend his shotgun to his co-worker. Now, he is likely to give the answer we’d like him to give. The BC at the FFL is not much of an infringement; a BC in the garage would be an infringement.
          The next round of legislation will not close the book on gun laws. That is true whether we achieve a net-win on the next round or the Anti’s achieve a net-win. That is pretty obvious. How did we lose all the rights we have lost in the past century? A few-at-a-time. How did we win all the rights we have won in the past 25 years in the States? A few-at-a-time. Is there a lesson here? In the last round of changes in Georgia the Anti’s insisted that carry in churches be on an Opt-IN basis; the sponsors conceded this minor point to get a law dubbed “Carry Everywhere”. How should we perceive this concession? In principle? Strategically? Tactically?
          How we construe the deplorable conditions in the slave-states is a really difficult problem. It is so difficult a problem that the urge to turn-away is overwhelming. But is this good strategy? Is it really safe to leave our neighbors in a state of disease? What if this disease is contagious?
          Deteriorating conditions (economically, etc.) in slave states causes emigration to free states; e.g., CA -> CO. A majority of those emigrants are anti-gun and they bring their sentiments to the voting booths in the free States. Look at the Brady ratings of Senators and Representatives in the “free” States; you will be shocked. Both Senators from VT are rabidly Anti’s.

      • Hell, after Newtown they could’ve re-instated the Clinton AWB without batting an eyelash. But even that wasn’t good enough for them. That’s where they crossed the Rubicon. And that’s where we pushed them back. They consolidated their lines at the state level on our flanks, but took losses in other states. Then they took the hit in CO which sent shock waves amongst their ranks. Now we’re settled into a WW1 style stale mate. The country is cut in half, the civilian press has wet their pants and Cronkite is no longer with us to call the whole thing off. lol. I’m hoping in November we can take the momentum back and send these extremist gun grabbers back into hiding where they belong. This is bigger than just the 2A now. This is police state style nanny socialism that you can see in all of their policies. And it’s a total failure. They stepped on the third rail and the people have not had a chance to vote since. They need to reap the whirlwind in November and scatter back into the woodwork.

  43. About 99% of all recorded online activity is never seen by human eyes, much of the 1% that is seen is anonymous. I agree the gov and third party entities are invading online privacy but it’s not at Orwellian levels. The gov doesn’t know as much as you think it does, and I believe tv and film does the gov a favor by portraying the ridiculous fictional abilities of gov and certain agencies, not to mention the people like this author who pushes the idea of an all knowing gov.
    We must continue to fight against more gun regulations especially registries and stop the myth that the gov already knows everything so what would a registery hurt? That type of attitude is counter-productive and anti-gun. So sad and angry to see TTAG authors give up the fight.

    • “not at Orwellian levels” [?] . . . ’cause, if it were, we wouldn’t be typing here… (who’s watching the guage?).

      Nobody expects the inquisition. . . 🙂

      if you were going to take everyone else’s guns before you started the next Civil War, would you tell anyone? If you were being paid by a foreign entity/government to disarm America so that we would be open to attack (not like OP “Fast ‘n’ Furious”, I’m thinking of that other crazy thing OP “Choke-Point”), would you tell anyone? How would you convince me to give up my means of protecting me and mine (just so I can tell, if you ever, like, start to do that kind of thing)?

  44. Having a CCP has me pegged as probable gun owner. All of mine were bought through face to face private sales though, so the only thing .gov knows that I possess is a CCP.

  45. Well.. I just checked my Google ads profile. The only thing they were close about was my age. The rest was not even close. And nothing about guns. Go figure.

  46. A lot of my work involves researching people and doing the occasional background check. It’s not too hard to figure out if someone owns a firearm just based on public information. Most POTG talk about their firearms in their social media, and beyond that, yes, it’s easy to infer ownership from search histories and so on.

    There’s a Big Data firm called Axciom, they have, on average, 1500 data points on most of the people in the United States. All of that data is for sale to private and public entities. I can guarantee that I were given some money and a list of real names from TTAG, the majority of the members of that list would have data points related to firearms.

    I don’t care if people know I’m into guns, that’s fine, it’s not a sin. I do exercise common precautions like never explicitly confirming the extent of my collection, but beyond that, I’m not going to obsess.

    That being said, with 300 million+ firearms in private hands in this country, confiscation would be a long and laborious battle. I don’t see the US population being scared into compliance, either. Most owners would conveniently “sell” their weapons if confiscation efforts became apparent. And I also have faith that a lot of authority figures would refuse to execute confiscation orders.

  47. I don’t worry about it. If the gubmint wants to get you-they will get you. Look at Martha Stewart. Or Bill Gates. They are much more half assed then you think. Look how clueless they were during the so-called Arab Spring…or right now with the prisoner swap.

  48. Remember the FBI has over 200 million data records, showing if you bought or repaired A gun since 1995. In West Virginia over 500 million paper records of gun purchases since 1968, just set waiting for the money required to make them digjtal by say Google.

  49. A National Security Letter to your ISP will open up all of your activity even using TOR, a huge file then becomes the plaything
    Of the FEDs!

  50. Under Obama’s Dood-Frank Bill to stop the 2008 recession
    From recuring the CFPB of the Federal Reserve is compling a record of EVERY credit & debit detail transaction that occurs in the USA.
    So they can ‘protect you from the Banks’. . . Yea Right!
    Want to buy land in Florida or a good Bridge?

  51. Last year when the Racin letters were mailed to the President and Congress they Published how the SS found the perp and his girl friend who had framed him. The USPS takes images (front and back) of all letters catalogs and packages mailed, all 180 billion each year, plus video of the customers of all post offices throughout the USA. Talk about a huge database!

  52. The internet is not the only way the government collects data. When you swipe your drivers license to buy a hunting license, you’re a gun owner. I was stopped by an Ohio Highway Patrolman that asked me if I got a deer this year after running my license. The new license plate scanners on most of the police cars keep track of your whereabouts as does the GPS (cell Phone) most of us carry( it used to be that a cop had to have a valid reason to run your plate). The feds are not suppost to keep background check data, but California has kept it and is sending swat teams to confiscate guns of people that may have had minor issues years ago. They take all the guns in the house whether they belong to an offender or not. Now they want to have a gun restraining order that can be requested by anyone?
    Has anyone been divorced? Had your crazy ex file a “temporary protection order” that prohibited you from having a gun for at least 3 months until you can get a hearing before a judge? Read the NRA story about the guy in DC if you want to see how things have really gone to sh@t.

  53. Can I please ask, what is the issue with background checks? I don’t know really what the issue is. Yes, I get that convicted felons still have gun rights, but at least knowing is something.
    As I write this, I’m really starting to doubt myself…

    • It’s an assumption that you’re a criminal until you prove that you’re not, which is exactly opposite to the letter and Spirit of the Constitution, which is supposed to guarantee that everyone is innocent until proven guilty in a proper court of law.

      In short, it’s an infringement on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Imagine having to pass a background check to get permission to buy a saw.


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