USA –-(Ammoland.com)- “The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), wishes to re-new and initiate liaison contacts with the Federal Firearms License holders and firearms ranges in the San Antonio area,” Special Agent Karl A. Kehrberg of the San Antonio Field Division wrote in a Dec. 23 letter to FFLs and range operators (see sidebar photo).
Questions about the intrusion into ATF turf aside, the point of the letter was to provide them with an “informational flier” and instruct:
If you encounter any suspicious activity, please give us a call.
What qualifies as “suspicious activity”? See the sidebar slide show.
Gun Rights Examiner has explored similar efforts in the past, defining such potentially subversive activities as shaving your beard or paying in cash, repeated in this latest alarm. In 2008, this correspondent’s GUNS Magazine “Rights Watch” column pointed to government warnings about “Defenders of the US Constitution against federal government and the UN (Super Patriots).” Similarly, we’ve documented other indicators of citizens up to no good, like supporting libertarian/conservative candidates, and sporting the “wrong” bumper sticker.
And while it’s noteworthy that Special Agent Kehrberg admits reporting suspicious activity can save lives (assuming, of course, management doesn’t instruct the dealer to proceed with the gun sale and then order surveilling personnel to stand down with the intent of having guns turn up later at domestic and Mexican cartel crime scenes), the nebulous expectations—combined with the power imbalance between dealers and agents, points to more than “strong FFL – law enforcement relationships,” or, as the handout calls it, a “community effort…partnership.”
But its among unequal partners. It’s not like the FFL has much choice but to make sure those holding their economic fortunes (and potentially much more) in their hands are satisfied that “suggestions” to jump are met with leaps and bounds. That, in turn, leads to the likelihood that dealers will go far beyond the requirements of the law to make certain their interests are protected and your rights and privacy are secondary, as illustrated in the sidebar video, where a gun store owner refused multiple rifle sales under the pretense of “a NICS hold,” reported customer license numbers, and reported the purchase of a mere 2,000 rounds of .223 ammunition, which any competitor or enthusiast can go through in short order (and recall that “preppers” are also on the terror suspicion list).
Look at some of the expectations on the tick list—if I want to engage in conversation with a dealer about how I’m going to use a gun or if I instead just want to buy the damn thing and not turn a transaction into a social event, that’s my business. Ditto if I traveled “an illogical distance”—according to whom? Maybe I’m in town and saw a good price—it’s not like GCA 68 doesn’t preclude out-of-state transfers that don’t go through FFLs anyway. Uselessly, offensively, and unconstitutionally in principle, I might add.
What this leads to is a false “perception = reality” conclusion that edicts and powers in place are not enough—that dealers can comply with all laws required of them, including having customers fill out all government-required forms and submit themselves to background checks, and it’s still not enough—with the risk of retaliatory audits and findings if FFLs don’t embrace the role of snitch.
Think about it—with all the recent hysterical emphasis to end private sales by demanding background checks and de facto registration via forms for all, as if that’s the goal, we’re now told that’s not enough, we need yet more intrusion. Which means we must all become a nation of spies, and be on the lookout for beards, or legal tender, or people without the social skills to maintain eye contact or…
And even that won’t be enough. Because it’s never enough.
Herd the law-abiding through the chutes and into the holding pens. And then block the gates and move in the rails.
Not that any of it will stop those with evil intent from doing what they damn well please. On both sides of “the law.”
About David Codrea:
David Codrea is a long-time gun rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He is a field editor for GUNS Magazine, and a blogger at The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance.