Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Pennsylvanians and others might want to read the following, longish

Discussion in 'Legal' started by alan, Dec 26, 2005.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. alan

    alan Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    2,598
    Location:
    sowest pa.
    SPECIAL REPORT

    Weapons of Mass Dissemination - It's Time for PA Gun Owners to Take
    ACTION Against Social Security Number Abuse

    Privacy. What does this mean to each of us and what are the
    consequences of the misuse of personal private information? The "Holy
    Grail" of privacy in America is centered on the individual's "Social
    Security Number" (SSN). With this you can gain access into virtually
    every personal individual record each of us has accumulated over our
    lifetimes. IF this number is so important then WHY does the government
    allow public entities, and even their own, to insist on its' use for
    purposes outside the scope of the law?

    Lancaster County PA resident Mike Stollenwerk, a long time privacy
    advocate, has for a number of years been asking this very question of
    the State and Federal government and its agencies that are charged with
    controlling the misuse of SSNs. In connection with this, Stollenwerk
    has filed a Federal lawsuit under Section 1983 of the Federal Civil
    Rights Act specifically focusing on the Pennsylvania State Police
    Firearms Unit and its apparent violations of the Federal Privacy Act of
    1974 by unlawfully requiring applicants to disclose Social Security
    Numbers when they buy firearms or apply for a License to Carry Firearm
    (LTCF). The Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Act also requires that SSNs
    so disclosed be recorded upon the face of the LTCF, entered into state
    databases, and remain in dealer records.

    Identity Theft:

    Many law-enforcement authorities call identity theft "the fastest
    growing crime across the country right now." In Identity-theft cases,
    the victim often has to prove his or her innocence. This shocks most
    new identity-theft victims. They naturally expect the police, the
    credit grantors, the credit-reporting agencies and others in high
    places to help them. Maybe it should be that way... but often it isn't.

    As we all know, Social Security Numbers are demanded by many
    governmental agencies such as PennDot, the PA Game Commission, and the
    Pennsylvania State Police (for the Pennsylvania Instant Check
    System-PICS) to mention the most relevant ones for this discussion.
    What is not often discussed is how do these agencies secure/protect the
    information and IF Identity thieves have ever stolen personal
    information from them and, MOST importantly, is it even "legal" for
    them to require it? In addition what recourse does a citizen have when
    this surrender of information, as required by law, to a government
    agency results in harm to a citizen? Are there "any" guarantees?

    A SSN is a confidential Taxpayer Identification Number ("TIN") under
    the Federal Internal Revenue Code at 26 CFR 6103, and well known to be
    easily misused by almost anyone to invade one's privacy and wreak havoc
    upon an individual's private and economic life, and that of his
    family's private and economic affairs.

    We are told constantly that there is "no" way for YOUR information
    to be compromised but the recent Choice Point scandal
    (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005...ain678810.shtml) as
    well as the most recent theft of U.S. Air Force officer's military
    information says otherwise and may just be the tip of the iceberg.

    Agencies Demand Access to it:
    Citizens and legislators alike are constantly told that we are all
    made safer because government has access to YOUR SSN for identity
    verification purposes. But is this TRUE?

    Let's take for example the process to purchase a firearm in PA and a
    very recent example of the failure of the PA State Police "PICS"
    system. Jason Schafer is a former Marine who was assigned to White
    House duty and now, in civilian life, is a firearms instructor and a
    computer IT specialist. His record will not show so much as an arrest
    and yet last month (November 2005) he was denied the purchase of a
    single action revolver for his firearm training classes despite the
    fact that he possesses a current PA LTCF, as well similar firearms
    carry permits from several other states, and has purchased (without any
    previous problems) numerous other firearms.

    Jason successfully challenged this outrageous and unjustified denial
    and as a part of this "challenge" process was told that the reason was
    that someone with the "same name" (?) had a Protection from Abuse order
    issued against him. Are we to take this to mean that the SSN, date of
    birth, and other identifying information were of "NO" use to law
    enforcement in differentiating between these two individuals? IF that
    is the case then why does the PA State Police-PICS system need the SSN?
    Jason Schafer has been asking this very question, among others, to no
    avail.

    This also raises another darker prospect in that how can any
    background check system work IF identities are easily stolen or
    fabricated AND doesn't this invalidate the main purpose of the firearms
    instant check system?

    Summation:

    Mike Stollenwerk was the key to the successful court case that
    effectively overturned Virginia's use of SSNs in applications for
    Concealed Handgun Permits based on the clear language of Federal law
    (see Message Item (A)). Mike's current lawsuit in Pennsylvania has
    been going well so far, but court cases are driven by money and more is
    needed to win in district court and then to prevail on a likely appeal.
    If this lawsuit prevails, SSN disclosures to firearm dealers and
    Sheriffs will become optional and all LTCF holders will be able to get
    a new license without their Social Security numbers printed upon it.
    Additionally, the ruling would provide persuasive case law authority to
    fix other states' abuses of firearm owners' SSN privacy rights, and
    allow the federal courts in Pennsylvania to explicitly recognize
    Article 1, Section 21 of the Pennsylvania Constitution as providing an
    individual right to bear arms -- something that the Pennsylvania
    Supreme Court already did in Ortiz v. Commonwealth, 681 A.2d 152, 156
    (Pa. 1996) holding that the "ownership of firearms is Constitutionally
    protected" under the Pennsylvania Constitution.

    The cite for this case is Michael Stollenwerk v. Jeffery B. Miller
    et al.; No. 04-5510 (United States District Court for the Eastern
    District of Pennsylvania). On 24 March 2005, Federal District Judge
    Juan Sanchez DENIED the Sheriff of Lancaster's motion to dismiss the
    case.

    Of course, some who read this will possibly consider this in the
    same vein as tilting at windmills, like Don Quixote, but remember that
    PA motorcycle groups were told that repealing the helmet law was not
    achievable; but it was, and that the recent repeal of the pay raise
    would not happen and of course this too just occurred. History is
    replete with examples of changes occurring because of one man's
    determination, the changes to the reviled PA firearm law; ACT 17 is an
    example of more dogged determination. In this case Mike is asking our
    financial help with this extremely important case. My check will be in
    the mail on Tuesday and I hope you can find your way clear to help him
    and his lawsuit as well.

    You may send your tax-deductible contribution to support this
    lawsuit through GOA's "Gun Owners Foundation." Just visit the GOF
    website at http://www.gunowners.com/stollenwerk.htm and you can make
    your contribution by credit card.

    Or, you can contribute by mail. Write the check to "Gun Owners
    Foundation," and then on the memo line, write "Stollenwerk Assistance
    Fund," and address the envelope to:

    Gun Owners Foundation
    8001 Forbes Place
    Suite 102, Springfield, VA 22151

    All contributors will get an e-mailed receipt, followed by a printed
    thank you note and documentation of the **tax deductible** status of
    their contribution from Gun Owners Foundation.

    Thank you for your time AND your consideration of this extremely
    important issue!

    Kim Stolfer
    ACSL, Legislative Committee, Chairman
    www.acslpa.org
    (412) 221-3346, Home Phone
    (412) 257-1099, Home Fax
    (412) 352-5018, Cell


    Item A:
    Federal Privacy Act of 1974, 5 USC 552a
    Sec. 7 (a)(1) It shall be unlawful for any Federal, State or local
    government agency to deny to any individual any right, benefit, or
    privilege provided by law because of such individual's refusal to
    disclose his social security account number.
    (2) the provisions of paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not apply
    with respect to--
    (A) any disclosure which is required by Federal statute, or
    (B) any disclosure of a social security number to any Federal, State,
    or local agency maintaining a system of records in existence and
    operating before January 1, 1975, if such disclosure was required under
    statute or regulation adopted prior to such date to verify the identity
    of an individual.
    (b) Any Federal, State or local government agency which requests an
    individual to disclose his social security account number shall inform
    that individual whether that disclosure is mandatory or voluntary, by
    what statutory or other authority such number is solicited, and what
    uses will be made of it.

    *************************************

    Item B:
    Draft Letter to Congressman in Support of HR 4144:
    (Find your Congressman at http://www.house.gov/)

    Dear Representative__________:

    I am writing you to express my strong support of H.R.4144, and ask that
    you please contact Representative English and tell him you wish to
    co-sponsor H.R.4144

    This legislation deals with an important and timely issue that concerns
    all Pennsylvania sportsmen and women-privacy, identity theft, and
    identity fraud. The requirement to provide a Social Security Number
    (SSN) for a recreational license to mainly private actors (such as Wal
    Mart) is not only unnecessary but it further endangers citizens by
    adding another point for criminal acquisition of this all-important
    information that is the critical key to an individual's financial and
    personal historical information. As you know identity theft is one of
    the fastest growing segments of crime facing our state. It is
    important for the law to embrace common sense measures that protect
    citizens from potential harm.

    A SSN is a confidential Taxpayer Identification Number ("TIN") under
    the federal Internal Revenue Code at 26 CFR 6103, and well known to be
    easily misused by almost anyone to invade one's privacy and wreak havoc
    upon an individual's private and economic life, and that of his
    family's private and economic affairs.

    In fact, Section 7 of the Privacy Act of 1974, Pub. L. 93-579 S 7, 88
    Stat. 1896, 1909 (1974), as codified at 5 U.S.C. § 552a provides that:
    (a)(1) It shall be unlawful for any Federal, State, or local government
    agency to deny to an individual any right, benefit, or privilege
    provided by law because of such individual's refusal to disclose his
    social security account number.
    (2) the provisions of paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not apply
    with respect to--
    (A) any disclosure which is required by Federal statute, or
    (B) the disclosure of a social security number to any Federal, State or
    local agency maintaining a system of records in existence and operating
    before January 1, 1975, if such disclosure was required under statute
    or regulation adopted prior to such date to verify the identity of an
    individual.
    I strongly encourage you to support this common sense legislation, HR
    4144. IF you do not support this legislation then I respectfully
    request of you, as my representative, the information on how many
    individuals that were evading paying child support have been
    successfully intercepted using this requirement in Pennsylvania.

    Please let me know your position on this legislation at your earliest
    convenience.
    Thank you in advance for your consideration of my concerns on this
    issue.

    Respectfully,

    (Your Name)

    *************************************

    Item C:
    * * Copy of Stollenwerk's June 2004 published letter to the editor of
    First Freedom Magazine re: the need to repeal federal authority for
    states to demand SSNs from applicants for recreational (i.e.,
    hunting/fishing/trapping) licenses.* *

    Dear Editor:

    The NRA's interest in advancing the rights of hunters (see "Big Bucks,
    Bad
    Ideas: Growing war chests help various efforts to hamstring hunters and
    wildlife conservation," by Gary Lantz, America's First Freedom, April
    2004, p. 45) could be furthered substantially by getting the Congress
    to repeal the relatively new law that requires [the] several states to
    demand disclosure of Social Security Numbers ("SSNs") from hunting
    license applicants.

    This invasive and undignified exception to Section 7 of the Federal
    Privacy Act is codified at 42 USC 666(a)(13)(A), and it provides
    authority for states to require hunters and other applicants for any
    "recreational license" to disclose their SSN, if any. I write "if
    any," because the Social Security Act does not require Americans to
    obtain assignment of SSNs to live, work, or hunt in the United States.
    In practice, however, many states misinterpret 42 USC 666 to require
    hunting applicants to obtain assignment of SSNs in order to obtain a
    hunting license.

    The SSN disclosure requirement for hunters is not just undignified - it
    forces every hunter to place his family at risk of identity theft and
    other invasions of privacy in order to exercise his right to hunt,
    sometimes even on his own land.

    It is well known that the decentralized execution of hunting licensure
    means that hunters must turn over their confidential SSN to private
    actors in an unsecured environment with few data controls.

    Incredibly, in Virginia and many other states, hunting license
    applications are public records - anyone can demand to see and copy the
    application, and sell or publish the information [period (.) added by
    publisher], including the hunter's SSN! Many state legislatures and
    hunting groups have already publicly asked Congress to repeal the SSN
    disclosure requirement for hunters.

    Now that the NRA has helped enforce privacy rights for gun buyer data
    under the Brady Act, it's time for the NRA to mobilize to convince
    Congress to reinstate SSN privacy rights for hunters.

    Mike Stollenwerk

    *************************************

    Item D:

    Legal Overview of Requiring Social Security Numbers for the Exercise of
    a Constitutional Right

    In order to determine if the provisions of the Privacy Act apply to
    the current PA LTCF statutes' (Title 18, section 6109) requirement of
    submission of a social security number by persons attempting to obtain
    a LTCF, a court would have to determine whether such activity affects a
    "right, benefit, or privilege." The Privacy Act does not specifically
    define what is to be considered a "right, benefit, or privilege." There
    do not appear to be any federal cases which clearly address the issue
    of what shall be considered a "right, benefit, or privilege" under the
    Privacy Act. In Wolman v. United States, 501 F.Supp. 310, the court
    briefly noted that a requirement that persons signing up for the
    Selective Service System supply their social security number affected a
    "right, benefit, or privilege" since "citizens have a duty to serve in
    the Armed Forces and a correlative right to register unimpeded by
    invasion of their privacy unless statutorily authorized." In Deeds vs.
    County of Fairfax, 151 F.3d 1028 (4th Cir. 1998), the court held that
    the Privacy Act applied to applications for handgun carrying permits.
    In Wolman, the court noted that the Privacy Act was, as noted by
    Senator Percy, enacted "to block any further expansion of the use of
    Social Security number as a 'universal identifier.'" Id. at 310. A
    court would likely interpret the provisions of PA Title 18 Crimes Code
    § 6109 as creating a statutorily generated "right, benefit, or
    privilege" to be able to acquire a license to carry from a Sheriff if
    he/she meets the conditions of the statute. Therefore, a court would
    likely apply the provisions of the Privacy Act to the statute's
    requirement that a Social Security Number be supplied.

    Under the Privacy Act, PA Sheriffs are not prohibited from
    requesting that individuals submit their Social Security Numbers on a
    voluntary basis when filling out the form. However, Section 7(b) of
    the Privacy Act of 1974 requires state officials and agencies that
    request the disclosure of social security numbers inform the individual
    "whether that disclosure is mandatory or voluntary, by what statutory
    authority such a number is solicited, and what uses will be made of
    it." Therefore provided there is appropriate disclosure, PA Sheriff's
    may 'only' request that a person completing the license application
    voluntarily provide a Social Security Number.

    In Deeds, the court held that the county substantially complied with
    Section 7 of the Privacy Act by providing a document along with the
    application for a Concealed Carry Permit that detailed the reason a
    request was made for a person's Social Security Number and the State
    Law provision necessitating the request.

    However, it is our view, and the view of the current Ohio Attorney
    General that the Privacy Act forbids denial of a license to carry on
    account of nondisclosure of a Social Security Number, unless one of the
    statutory exceptions to the prohibition quoted above applies.
    Exceptions to the act include disclosures required by Federal Statute
    or disclosure of the Social Security Number to any Federal, State, or
    Local agency maintaining a system of records in existence and operating
    before January 1, 1975, if such a disclosure was required under statute
    or regulation adopted prior to such date to verify the identity of an
    individual. See Section7 of the Privacy Act of 1974, Pub. L. 93-579 S
    7, 88 Stat. 1896, 1909 (1974). Prior to 1988, no State agency governed
    the issuance of licenses to carry a firearm nor was there any uniform
    state law governing this provision. Therefore, this exception would
    not be applicable.

    In Deeds vs. County of Fairfax, 151 F.3d 1028 (4th Cir. 1998), the
    Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals dealt with the manner in which an
    agency treated a person's Social Security Number after it was
    voluntarily provided to the agency. However, not at issue in the case
    was the ability of an agency to deny a Concealed Handgun Permit or
    firearm sale to a person who refused to provide his Social Security
    Number. As the Tennesee Attorney General already opined, a court would
    most likely interpret current Federal Law to prohibit PA Sheriff's and
    the PA State Police from denying approval of a firearm purchase based
    solely on the individual's refusal to supply his social security
    number.

    * * End of Report * *
    Kim Stolfer
    Legislative Committee, Chairman
    Allegheny County Sportsmen's League, Inc.
    www.acslpa.org
    (412) 221-3346, Home Phone
    (412) 257-1099, Home Fax
    (412) 352-5018, Cell
     
  2. yonderway

    yonderway Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2005
    Messages:
    197
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    Hmmm I wonder why the GOA never sent me email about this.

    Their philosophy is dead-on but their execution, especially with regards to Internet communications, is leaving something to be desired. :rolleyes:
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page