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Shults Media Relations sent this email blast to TTAG central, of which I’ll share with you:

A Highly Detailed Private National Firearm Owner Registry Exists

March 2014- We are NOT accusing Gun Broker, LLC of anything improper nor are we implying anything improper by Gun Broker. In fact we think their business model is neat with many tens of thousands of satisfied buyers and sellers. We are NOT aware of any underhanded activities by Gun Broker including inappropriate release of any member’s personal information. Gun Broker appears strong in support of firearm ownership–that’s also good business, that’s how they earn their money. But the Internet is buzzing (when doesn’t it?) about their “refusals” and requests for more information from applicants . . .

Basic Background–details to follow shortly: Recently one of our staffers decided to join Gun Broker to observe secondary market sale closing prices, he did not want to sell anything just be a “buyer.” To do this one must register with Gun Broker- fair enough. And buyers need not collect money, etc. as that is the seller’s job as is paying Gun Broker its commission and charges. This may sound like sour grapes–it isn’t, we are very concerned about the personal information Gun Broker requires and has in their data banks–especially when coupled with firearm ownership in today’s hostile Second amendment anti-gun environment.

While gun owners may not tell a neighbor they own guns they apparently will tell an anonymous data base business that and much much MORE. The NRA and other firearm organizations do NOT ask for personal information like Gun Broker.

Our staffer submitted his info. (now in their system forever) but did not see a warning about no P.O. Boxes (if it was near the line where one enters the address). Gun Broker responded saying he was “suspicious” and demanded a FAX of his driver’s license. A driver’s license contains lots of information and some (not our staffer) even list their Social Security Number on their licenses. He refused.

Gun Broker countered–FAX a copy of a blacked out license and/or two copies of other documents that will prove his physical address (where the guns might be)–AND–even after getting that information they may need more.

Gun Broker also asks for date of birth. Your DOB is a highly-valuable piece of unique individual personal private identification. Your DOB when linked to your name is as unique as your SSN and is used as an I.D. for most medical and financial records. And when combined with phone number, addresses and credit card it is a key into everything about you as financial, medical and legal records; your life and records are an open book. Again the danger here having this data in a data base is dangerous due to data breaching, hacking, selling of the information and/or having the files subpoenaed. Date of birth is one of the first questions generally asked or verified if you come into contact with law enforcement–it is that important!

Concerns abound for good reason about any database (like gun Broker’s) having firearm information, transaction records, what you looked for on their site, DOB, phone numbers, addresses, driver’s license info, credit cards especially when linked to guns. Even a 4473 does not ask for that much information and the 4473 is not in a private owned commercial data base either.

Even if Gun Broker does NOT sell or rent their data they can be hacked, subpoenaed or coerced for their data and quite possibly the merchandise items sold, purchased, or even searched by their members is possibly available.

Again, we know of nothing underhanded about Gun Broker and their business and we are NOT implying there is from this piece and neither should you so infer. But we feel this type of personal information especially in a single firearm related database is of concern.

What can Gun Broker do? They should first run some sort of computer search/sort of their system and delete ALL the DOBs they have and just note over 21. For legal reasons to CYA themselves they could require new people to type out rather than just check a box the applicant is over 21. And they need to stop requests for driver’s licenses and other private address information–non-gun/registered items are between individuals and the gun sales are going through licensed FFL dealers and the seller and buyer can communicate that required contact and payment between themselves.

We understand that Gun Broker must make their percentage of listings and sales and that credit card information they could set up with sellers only. We feel that the type of data they are holding and requesting is potentially very harmful if stolen, sold, rented, breached, coerced or subpoenaed.

Last, to add insult to injury, within a day of our staffer’s refused “suspicious” registration rejection notification and Gun Brokers request for more information Gun Broker’s PR began arriving in his email! He unsubscribed.

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    • Making people and their homes safer from crime is a good thing. And that is what lawful gun ownership does. The more the better

        • I’ve purchased two firearms through GunBroker, both at substantially below retail. I’ve only been forced to rethink purchasing there because the LGS in my neck of the woods jacked up their transfer fees on nonstore purchases from $25 to $65-$75, even on guns they do not carry, which, along with shipping costs, wipe out any cost advantage

        • I don’t who you have been buying from but I have purchased several accessories and lots of ammunition from Mid-South Distribution on Gunbroker and their prices are the best I have seen on the web anywhere. I ordered a Leupold scope from them last week and it was delivered to my door in 25 hours and I only paid $8.95 for flat rate shipping (which is their cost of shipping no matter how much stuff you buy). The Leupold was $100 cheaper than anywhere else. Love

  1. In the event of a subpoena they could always follow the Google model:

    “Give us your records.”

    “See, we would, but we performed a routine wipe of our servers yesterday.”

      • The particular incident I’m thinking of was a file sharing case from 5-6 years ago. I can’t remember enough specifics to even attempt to find a link, but that brief summary I recall clearly.

        They generally don’t hold up very well to their overt corporate philosophy of “don’t be evil,” but they did in that one case.

      • “In bed with the government….”

        Understatement of the year. Google is an intelligence-gathering arm of the NSA.

  2. Who is Scultz media and why should I care about their press release? Seriously. I’ve never hesrd of these people. They have some valid points none the less.

    • I haven’t heard of them either and can’t find a website for them. Perhaps this is a case of yellow journalism?

      I understand the concerns they put forward, but one has to consider Gunbroker does not want to be associated with illegal sales. One also has to consider the popularity of Gunbroker.

      I will reserve judgement, but this release seems strange without any context on who these people are…

    • I used to use Auction Arms (they’ve actually changed their name to Gun Auction), but Gunbroker is (literally) 20 times larger in terms of number of auctions.

  3. Unless their servers is heavily encrypted (and one can safely bet they aren’t) the NSA likely already has the data. What are they doing with it? Also likely nothing at the moment. But it’s being woven into the algos they use to attempt to divine the past – and the future.

    Beyond the current logging of every single byte that flows through teh interwebz, they routinely penetrate ‘servers of interest’. Anyone who still thinks that NSA hacking stops at Congress critters, reporters, and big corporations, is fooling themselves. We’re now all ‘suspected terrorists’ subject to surveillance. Why? Because they can.

    • I sincerely believe everyone everywhere is regarded as a “potential person of interest” by the three-letter agencies. It explains their actions to date. NSA is NOT the only player on the Internet. The US is NOT the only player on the Internet.

      Act accordingly.

      • Who is larger threat to YOUR personal Constitutional Freedoms – Federal XYZ agencies or the chicoms, russians, euros, ______?

        • As Kelly’s Pogo so elegantly paraphrased Commodore Perry, “We have met the enemy, and he is us”.

  4. I wish I would have known that 5 days ago. Oh well it was a bolt gun so that will put me at the bottom of the list. Gunbroker should heed your warning or be prepared for another company to move in and sell like gunbroker without the unnecessary requirements.

    I know a lot of information they have could be collected elsewhere, but we don’t need to make it one stop shop for antigunners. Thanks for the info guys.

  5. You have the same problem with any online site. We have no idea of how good they secure their information/data and their policy should the police come knocking at the door. For all we know, the NSA has already culled information from their system looking for some mythical terrorists.

    Anytime you give any information you are at the mercy of how good their security policy happens to be. For example, see Target. Even after being warned they did nothing to secure their POS systems from malicious software trying to take the information.

    Gun Broker is no different — we will never know how good their process and IT infrastructure happens to be until the SHTF — and then you may be screwed.

  6. They say they do it for security of members (anti-fraud) but when someone contacted me about a custom Ruger that was being auctioned for a “charity” cause, it was clear GB doesn’t care. Someone had used pics of a gun I had built for my wife and bids were up over $1K. Anybody who sent $$ to the perp was up shit’s creek; GB doesn’t finalize most of their transactions….that happens direct from buyer-seller.

    I contacted GB and they never responded. A few of us ended up bidding up the guy’s auctions to ensure we were high-bidders; as expected, nobody ever contacted any of us for payment. It was a total scam and no protection for buyers whatsoever.

    CN: ALWAYS use a credit card on GB so you have some protection. If you want to pay cash for guns “off the books” (as is your right in most states); do it locally.

  7. DoB is logical since firearm sales and purchases are age-restricted. I don’t recall being asked for my DL, but then again, I used a mailing address and non-Gmail email address.

    Sorry, folks, short of truly going off-grid (and if you’re off the grid, how are you reading this?) your information is out there. OF COURSE there’s no reason not to minimize your digital footprint. And if you’ve commented on TTAG, the NSA already knows your state of residence, familial status, which caliber you shoot, which holster you use, and which guns you’d pick to fight off zombies. (Thanks for sharing.)

    Waiting for the deluge of “one-up” commenters claiming they never visit any e-commerce site and only use the barter system…

    • Demanding DoB is an over reach. All that matters is whether you meet the minimum threshold, not your specific birth date. Really, other sites out there, such as those selling ammunition or pornography (so I’m told), only ask whether you’re 18 or older. Gunbroker can get by with that, too.

      In some arenas, such as employment applications, asking for DoB is illegal. All that’s required and asked for is whether you’re 18+. The rationale there is that if specific age, as opposed to minimum threshold age, has no legitimate bearing on the transaction, then it need not be disclosed. Disclosure only exposes it to abuse.

      You’re probably right, though, that there are already more than enough links out there to connect just about anyone to anything, if you have the computing power and access.

      • Mail order ammo sites I’ve have seen want a photocopy of DL, for “proof of age and ???? They should shred immediately instead of retaining and databasing info.

  8. this meme/rumor was created by anti gun rights people. Same as the claim that “the NRA has a database so a government database is not a threat,” narrative.

    Hey my isp knows a lot too, that is different than the government openly creating a database totally unconstrained.

    There is a difference between my grocery store chain knowing my buying habits, and a bunch of people saying we need a database of individuals food buying habits so the government can intervene if an individual buys too much soda — or in the case of guns, seize them very easy

    • Couldn’t agree more. This smells of either gun-control or a competitor looking to discredit their competition.

  9. I learned the hardway when a business asks for these types of info. They tell you they won’t sell to third parties. Yet, lo and behold, you get emails/spam from third parties. So, I use another email to send their junk to…you know, like those auto-replies telling you that these are not monitored. I’m pretty sure it’s reaching 15GB of storage space by now. But, I’m not worried. It’s all going to Google email.

  10. I don’t use gunbroker or auction sites in general. Everything I’m ever interested in either has a too high reserve price, or has already been bid up ridiculously by the one guy in America eager to overpay.

    I buy mine primarily over the counter at Academy, or from independent FFL’s for the less common or widely back ordered items. Although, my last two, ready for pick up today, as a matter of fact, have come from Bud’s. So far, that’s gone very smoothly and I’m likely to return.

    • You aren’t doing it right if you don’t get a good price on GB, or you have been looking for very rare guns that make people bid crazy amounts. I’ve made some great purchases on GB over the last 8 years or so, a couple of them were amazingly cheap for what I got. You need to look every day, and when you find something, bid on it with whatever your max amount will be, and just wait. If you don’t get it that time, you will the next, or the time after that. I’ve never had a bad used gun from Gunbroker. A bad new one, yes, but not a bad used one. And every purchase I’ve made, even with the $20 or $25 transfer fee, and the $12-30 usual shipping, was cheaper than what I would pay for it anywhere locally, if I could even get it locally at all.

  11. I’ve used them over the years for items no longer in production or not typically carried by retail stores.
    Last purchase was for Ruger SP 101 9mm revolver, was made in 1989 for one year, then dropped from product line. Paid premium price for an out of production, quality firearm. Seller did not hose with pricing.
    Very nice weapon & a rare find at a reasonable price..Would buy from them again, it not like every government angency’s Aunt Tilley and her cat already have too much information on us.

  12. Gunbroker gathers personal information as a way to prevent fraud. The point of their database is that if someone tries to rip a buyer or seller off (fail to pay for a purchase or failure to send item that has been paid for), the offender’s personal information will be in the system and gunbroker can take appropriate action.

    I have no problem with this. Fraud is a serious problem on the internet, and it makes sense to collect some personal info to deter potential scammers. As for the claim that they have a “gun database”, that’s highly dubious. It’s just a record of gun transactions (transactions also are removed after a certain amount of time. It doesn’t record what happends to the guns after they are sold or where they go. If someone moves to a different address after buying the gun, that won’t be recorded on gunbroker. Add that in with the fact that the records are maintained by a private organization, not the government, and I don’t see a problem.

  13. So Shults has described a central issue that comes up between the interaction of any website handing personal information, payment information, and attempting to cover their ass legally and a user of said site.

    It all just sounds like they are trying to ratchet up the fear level to me. It is nearly impossible to escape giving this kind of information somewhere, at some point, if you use just about any electronic service. Even if you pay in cash for everything, at some point in the process of getting that cash, someone else has access to and control of your personal information (employer, bank, credit card company etc).

    So I find myself wondering, what makes it so much worse that this legitimate business, Gunbroker, has the same personal information the other legitimate businesses I choose to use have?

    That isn’t to say they don’t have a legitimate argument about auction records being stored as a privacy/security concern.

    Will TTAG ask Gunbroker for a response? I think they should.

  14. Gun-Broker: Where delusional sellers go to sell their over-priced stuff in the hopes someone will be smart enough to bid on it, but too dumb to shop around other internet options.
    Do a search (by the way, has a much better search function) for your current dream gun, and notice how many auctions are ending with 0 bids.
    Oh, and if you see an auction ending with only 1 bid of the opening $0.01 price, that was me.

  15. Gunbroker wanted all this information from me, and would not let me open an account. So, I don’t have a gunbroker account.

    • and so they have your info for NO REASON currently? Seems there should be some provision to purge details, if no account created/ approved .

  16. Yep, this is why I wont buy on GunBroker any longer. Nevertheless, I know dealers in my local area who advertise on GunBroker, so I’ll look to see what they have in stock and then I’ll go face-to-face with them, so GunBroker loses out.

  17. If the fraud protection system on Gunbroker disturbs you there is always Armslist.

    LOL at people who blame Gunbroker or any auction service for that matter for the high prices of goods.

  18. I’ve been logged in with gunbroker for way too many years.
    I never had to provide them a copy of my DL, or anything else.
    I use it to find unusual stuff.

  19. Your DOB when linked to your name is as unique as your SSN …

    NO, it is NOT. I have had to deal with faulty data matching more than once because there is someone else with my first name, last name, middle initial and date of birth in this Australian state. Also, I once had an almost identical street address to someone with my last name and initials in another suburb, who was right next to me in the telephone directory. Several things drive such “coincidences” and make them much less coincidental:-

    – The birthday paradox. It’s not whether you have a 1 in 365 chance of a matching birthday, it’s how many people it takes for a pair to be likely to match – which is about 23 people.

    – Skew distributions. People aren’t evenly spread, but their names etc. are likely to clump. A LOT of parents with my last name give their sons my first name – there were at least three of us when I was at university, and I am a member of a club that has another.

    – Bayes’s theorem. A lot of people think it’s a one in millions chance (it isn’t), so it will be millions to one against happening again. No, the odds (much lower) are against your getting caught over and over, because those identifying details stay much the same – the odds don’t get re-run each time.

    And that makes it hard on people like me when those details are “used as an I.D. for most medical and financial records” by idiots who don’t know what they are doing when it comes to statistics.

    • This depends very heavily on your name. I have a straightforward triplicate of Anglo names, and there is precisely one of me in 330MM US residents…

  20. Gun broker uses this information to stop fraud. Just like scammers on ebay, people from Russia, Niggeria, China would put up fake auctions hoping some sucker would buy the item.. send lots money across to them and the buyer is left broke. If gunbroker ( or other websites ) can weed out these scammers, it makes their market place a trusted environment. If you buy or sell online, you want to make sure you are dealing with a real trusted person on the other end. In this digital age, you are foolish to think that there is no information on you out in the world. You want to fall off the grid… then you really should not be on any online auction site or blog… it is just how it is… If you do not want to give this information up, you do not have to… you do not get to use their site.

    On the other hand…gun broker does not do a good job of stating what they do with this data they collect once they collect it. Maybe this article will spear a response.

    • “Just like scammers on ebay, people from Russia, Niggeria”

      How unfortunate. And it made it through the spam filter, too! But when I quote it in a reply, the spam filter swallows it whole. Ironic, isn’t it?

  21. It has been… six or seven years since I joined GunBroker. As far as I can recall, the only identification they wanted was a valid credit card number, to which they charged one dollar.

  22. Everything typed was actually very logical. However, think about
    this, what if you were to write a killer headline? I mean, I don’t wish to tell you how to run your blog,
    however suppose you added something that makes people want
    more? I mean Shults Media Relations Supports Gun Broker But .
    . . – The Truth About Guns is kinda vanilla. You ought to peek at Yahoo’s front page and see how they create news headlines to get viewers interested.
    You might add a video or a related picture or two to get people
    interested about everything’ve written. In my opinion, it would make your blog a little livelier.


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