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BATF violated federal law by creating a database of private gun ownership

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Aim1, Aug 3, 2016.

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  1. Aim1

    Aim1 Member

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    I guess if we said they were creating a database of gun owners we'd be called paranoid. This definitely wasn't a mistake.








    https://www.conservativereview.com/...cys-chilling-gun-move-will-make-your-jaw-drop






     
  2. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

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    Well it appears that as is often the case with fringe media, the article overstates the case.

    From the GAO's "executive summary" of the report (emphasis added):


    The full GAO report entitled "ATF Did Not Always Comply with the Appropriations Act Restriction and Should Better Adhere to Its Policies" may be read here.

    The article is classic propaganda, innuendo, and half truths. We don't tolerate that from our opposition, and we shouldn't tolerate that from our side, either.

    And this illustrates that we should never take such articles at face value and need to go to primary sources.
     
  3. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Member

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    I find this hard to believe.
     
  4. Ryanxia

    Ryanxia Member

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    There have been several situations where they've violated the law. They even force many gun shops to allow them to copy all their records (most just comply without making a peep). My local shop was one of the few who tried to stand up to them and go figure, didn't end well.

    Rogue agency doing corrupt things. What a surprise.
     
  5. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

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    Then why believe any of the GAO report? Or are you going to believe those parts of the report you like and disbelieve those parts of the report you don't like?
     
  6. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

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    Hardly what the GAO report says.

    But I guess like a lot of people (both pro-RKBA and anti-RKBA) you find it easier, more convenient and more satisfying to embrace your prejudices than require evidence.
     
  7. Ryanxia

    Ryanxia Member

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    A carefully worded report by the GAO coupled with first hand interaction with the agency allows me to read between the lines and draw my own conclusions. Am I making an assumption without concrete evidence? Absolutely. Am I biased? Absolutely lol. If I came home to poop on the floor and a dog slinking away am I going to go out looking for evidence of someone else having pooped on my floor? Nope. :D
     
  8. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

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    That says it all. Your opinions on the subject are not worth paying attention to.
     
  9. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Contributing Member

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    Pretty sure that's not quite their official mission. Regulation of interstate commerce concerning alcohol, tobacco and firearms is it, with the more recent addition of explosives. Certainly they overreach, but that was and is the sole purpose for ATF's existence. Technically, they aren't even allowed to meddle in intrastate affairs, although no challenges to that usurped authority have been successful to my knowledge.
     
  10. Ryanxia

    Ryanxia Member

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    Well good thing this is a forum where we can share ideas and not a court room, so I guess my two cents matters or doesn't matter depending on the reader. Just like yours. :)
     
  11. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

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    Well all opinions aren't equal. Opinions supported by evidence are one thing. The opinions of someone who admits he's making assumptions without concrete evidence and that he is biased are another matter entirely.

    Of course there may be folks who are happy to accept biased opinions formed without a basis in concrete evidence. Such persons could be considered prejudiced and/or gullible.

    People believe all sorts of things that aren't true. Their beliefs in things that aren't true won't change reality.
     
  12. dogtown tom

    dogtown tom Member

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    You would be wrong. Their responsibilities include the investigation and prevention of federal offenses involving the unlawful use, manufacture, and possession of firearms and explosives; acts of arson and bombings; and illegal trafficking of alcohol and tobacco products. The ATF also regulates, via licensing, the sale, possession, and transportation of firearms, ammunition, and explosives in interstate commerce. Many of ATF's activities are carried out in conjunction with task forces made up of state and local law enforcement officers, such as Project Safe Neighborhoods. ATF operates a unique fire research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, where full-scale mock-ups of criminal arson can be reconstructed.




    Again, wrong. Federal agencies are not allowed to spend their budget on things not within their authority. ATF cannot up and decide to start taxing soft drinks unless Congress passes a law that designates ATF as the regulatory agency responsible.





    "Technically"?
    Technically you would be wrong. The US Supreme Court has ruled decades ago that intrastate commerce affects interstate commerce and Federal regulations apply. Until the USSC reverses that decision ATF is "technically" within its authority.
     
  13. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Contributing Member

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    Hence the article should have red "The ATF is an agency tasked with stopping or preventing the proliferation of illegal arms or illicit trafficking of firearms."

    I stand by my statement. Local LE is the agency charged with protecting communities. Verbiage matters.

    Red herring. Overreaching doesn't necessarily mean trying to regulate things that they haven't the authority to regulate.

    ATF may be legally within their authority, but not constitutionally (says the 10th amendment). Nowhere in the constitution is the federal government granted authority to regulate intrastate commerce, and that has been the grounds on which states have sued fedgov for the right to allow manufacture of title II weapons that must remain intrastate. SCOTUS certainly doesn't always make the right (constitutional) call. I think we can all agree on that.
     
  14. barnbwt

    barnbwt member

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    There's been evidence in spades of everything from exceeding authority, to entrapment, to gun running, to now violating a minor point of statute pertaining to data security to the tune of some 10,000 'multiple purchaser' records.

    I can't believe this forum has sunk so low as to give the BATFE of all people the benefit of the doubt, as well as the Massachusetts attorney general. We just about can't even argue that they are abusing us without an after-the-fact court ruling to back ourselves with here, as though that ruling somehow changes the reality of the situation one iota. Yup, the fact that they maintained a large & sophisticated illicit database on us gun buyers despite the comical absurdity of the eForms debacle (and now 1+ year paper form wait times that have replaced it) merits no examination of their motives, whatsoever. Simple mistake, I'm to believe. That's been rectified, and not simply moved to another server*

    In the interest of getting Godwin out of the way early, the Nazis were legally justified in slaughtering all inferior races before them, "technically." Law has been as big a source of evil as religion or any other construct of ambitious men. Just as with ballots mattering less than those who do the counting, individual rulings in law matter infinitely less than the legitimacy and restraint of the overall legal framework above them. Sorry, but a court that relies on the logick of Wickard v Filburn or Dred Scott is going to lack much of the legitimacy necessary for it to be heeded in practice (whether that is "technically" against the law or not). I, for one, appreciate the legitimate rule of law over the rule of the strongest, so I take great offense at those who would seek to stretch and distort our system of laws to protect or encourage unjust acts that undermine it.

    TCB

    *If I'm not mistaken, it's been argued that the would-be illegal database would not be unlawful if it were under the custody of someone other than the ATF, like the State Dept or Homeland Security, even if they had full access or even copies of the contents
     
  15. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

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    If you wish to quibble with the GAO's phraseology, take the matter up with the GAO.

    Raising such quibbles here adds nothing substantive to the discussion.

    The constitutional question is one for the Supreme Court and not you. Indeed the Supreme Court has ruled that the federal government may, within the Ninth and Tenth Amendment and the Commerce Clause, regulate intrastate activities that have a substantial effect on interstate commerce (Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U. S. 111, and Gonzales v. Raich 545 U. S. 1).

    The principles set out in Wickard and Gonzales were applied by the Ninth Circuit in connection with certain intrastate firearms matters (Montana Shooting Sports Association v. Holder, No. 10-36094, (9th Cir., 2013)). See this article (emphasis added, footnotes omitted):

    Not in the real world.

    The Founding Fathers assigned the role of deciding what the Constitution means and how it applies to the federal courts (Constitution of the United States, Article III, Sections 1 and 2):

    The exercise of judicial power and the deciding of cases arising under the Constitution necessarily involves interpreting and applying the Constitution to the circumstances of the matter in controversy in order to decide the dispute. Many of the Founding Fathers were lawyers and well understood what the exercise of judicial power meant and entailed.
     
  16. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

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    None of that was within the purview of the GAO audit, and this thread is limited to a discussion of that audit.

    "Gun running" has been elsewhere discussed. Allegations of entrapment would be something else entirely. If you have solid evidence that ATF has been engaged in entrapment, post that evidence in a new thread, and we can discuss it.

    First, this is about the GAO audit and what the GAO found. If you think the GAO is wrong, cite some actual evidence. But you might believe/wish to be true isn't evidence.

    Second, the Massachusetts AG has nothing to do with this subject.
     
  17. dogtown tom

    dogtown tom Member

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    Local cops don't enforce Federal law....so yes verbiage matters.;)

    That's illogical.:rolleyes:



    Sure it is.....it's right there in that little part that gives the US Supreme Court the judicial authority to interpret the Constitution.;)
    Like it or not, if the USSC says intrastate commerce affects interstate commerce and may be regulated by the Feds.....that's the way it is until someone can present a better argument.



    Which went exactly where everyone thought......denied at every level of the judiciary.



    No argument there.
     
  18. Snyper

    Snyper Member

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    Yes, we all know yours is the only one that matters.
    We hear it quite often.
     
  19. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    To wit:
     
  20. danez71

    danez71 Member

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    That's not very confidence inspiring, imo.

    Maybe there should be more audits?
     
  21. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

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    All of which is irrelevant.

    What is relevant is that no matter how much gun owners might object to the conduct of the ATF allegations of misconduct still need to be supported with solid evidence.

    Allegations of misconduct based on knee-jerk antipathy, or "personal anecdotes, small samples, easily available data, and faulty interpretation of statistics" are useless to us. In fact they are worse then useless. When we make charges which aren't well supported by evidence and which are therefore easily refuted or debunked, it casts doubt on our credibility.

    It might feel good to say nasty things about the ATF, but without evidence to back us up it's, "...a tale. Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury. Signifying nothing...."
     
  22. barnbwt

    barnbwt member

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    Indeed, this topic exists in a vacuum with absolutely no context; we should read nothing into ATF motives or past/expected future behavior as being cooperative or subversive to this audit's findings or recommendations. I'm sure there was no intent to break federal laws (good luck with that defense as a mere plebe, though)

    I have to say, the Declaration of Independence with its itemized lists of grievances sure had a lot more impact than all the individual complaints that had been sent previously about abuses in the colonies. At some point, the only reason one would choose to look at such things through a microscope with blinders is to deny the existence of broader problems.

    I suppose that is why the constitution & amendments were kept secret from the public during ratification. Our vaunted constitutional arbiters clad in black can't even decide if their job is to be congress' translator or spell-checker or Miss Cleo. And Wickard is easily, if not literally interpreted to give congress dominion over all human activity and all physical substance in the material universe. It's as flawed a theory as the Treaty of Tordesillas, and necessarily erodes the respect of thinking men for our system of laws.

    How would you suppose we obtain this evidence of internal BATFE operations concerning sensitive personal data in databases that should not exist? Do you have greater resources than the GAO? Should we take their recommendations as accurate on faith alone? Should we file a FOIA request that they have a solid history of refusing to cooperate with and little/no consequences for evading?

    We all know the only real solution is having congress attack the Bureau directly (since even oversight operations have been proven to be insufficient all to often) with funding & jurisdiction restrictions, and a big part of that is making people aware of the train of abuses that agency has left in its wake for decades.

    TCB
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2016
  23. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

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    I guess all you have to contribute to a discussion of the subject is your bile and spleen. You have nothing substantive.
     
  24. Twiki357

    Twiki357 Member

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    I am not addressing the specific GAO report. However, as a retired Federal examiner with two other Federal regulatory agencies, I would like to briefly address the reporting process. From the findings of the participating personnel (the grunts) doing the onsite examination, the individual in charge selects [at his/her discretion] what will or will not be included in the “preliminary” report. Then the office manager will review and edit the report. Maybe or maybe not with input or discussion with the on site manager. The report is then forwarded to the overall department head (a political appointee) for final approval prior to publication. Corrective measures are often added by the reviewers based on no more than a promise made over the phone.

    Based on 37 years of experience, it is rare that a final report will contain more than 50% to 75% of the problems and violations identified and depending on the opinions of the reviewing managers/supervisors, even 50% is sometimes an unreachable goal. This is why I read the GAO report with a certain amount of skepticism.

    Sorry Frank. No citations since all my CYA files were destroyed after I retired.
     
  25. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

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    Still, your personal experience, or rather the way you perceived your personal experience, really has nothing to do with the subject.

    Look again at the quote in CapnMac's post (19):

    When one isn't rigorous about data and evidence, he will lose the argument every time to someone who is.
     
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