Almost immediately after the Wall Street Journal revealed that federal agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement “persuaded” local police officers in Southern California in 2010 to scan the license plates of gun show customers, the Second Amendment Foundation called for a Congressional investigation.
SAF founder and executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb called the surveillance effort “a civil rights outrage.” He suggested in a press release that the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform investigate. In a strongly-worded statement, he said the effort appeared to have been “one more gun control affront launched during the Obama administration.”
This surveillance effort happened while Hillary Clinton was part of the Obama administration. She has made gun control a cornerstone of her campaign, and next week, she is headed to SAF’s home state of Washington, with her hand out again.
Seattle has become something of an ATM for Democrats. According to the Seattle Times, she will appear Friday, Oct. 14 at the Paramount Theater. This is no small potatoes appearance, with tickets ranging in cost from $250 to $27,000.
It might interest Clinton and fellow anti-gunners that Washington, despite its appearance of being a Democrat stronghold, is one of the most well-armed states in the country. The Department of Licensing reported Monday that as of the end of September, there were 557,471 active concealed pistol licenses in the state. That’s up 2,926 over the number of active CPLs at the end of August.
Of those, 98,755 are held by King County residents, of which 20,356 are women. Statewide, roughly 20 percent of all CPLs are held by women.
Now, there are thousands of Evergreen State residents who regularly attend gun shows. The largest of these gatherings is sponsored by the Washington Arms Collectors, a Renton-based organization that holds monthly shows in Puyallup and Monroe, at the cities’ respective fairgrounds.
How is that going to go over with all those potential voters if they have to worry about a federal agency snooping into their gun show attendance under a Clinton presidency? Clinton has said she is most proud of the fact that the National Rifle Association, and the so-called “gun lobby,” is her enemy.
According to the WSJ story, once the plates in California had been scanned back in 2010, “Agents then compared that information to cars that crossed the border, hoping to find gun smugglers, according to the documents and interviews with law-enforcement officials with knowledge of the operation.”
The newspaper quoted Erich Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, who criticized the surveillance
“Information on law-abiding gun owners ends up getting recorded, stored, and registered, which is a violation of the 1986 Firearm Owners Protection Act and of the Second Amendment,” Pratt told the newspaper.
But on Monday Gottlieb went further, saying that “it is none of the government’s business who comes and goes at a lawfully-operated gun show.” He said such activity should only be conducted after a judge has signed off on it.
“Attending a gun show is not a criminal activity,” Gottlieb said. “American citizens engaged in a perfectly legal activity should not have to worry about the government monitoring their exercise of various civil rights, including freedom of association and the right to keep and bear arms.”
The newspaper also quoted Jay Stanley, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, who said the surveillance “highlights the problem with mass collection of data.”
Stanley explained that by doing this sort of license plate scan, two “entirely legal activities” (buying guns and crossing a border) become linked to criminal activity, and thus fall under suspicion.
“Instead of worrying about people attending gun shows,” Gottlieb said, “maybe the same attention could have been paid to criminals walking guns across the border under the Fast and Furious fiasco. Oh, wait, that was a debacle created by government agents, also during the Obama administration.”
Gottlieb said that if this kind of surveillance had been done in relation to any activity “other than a gun show,” the liberal media and activists would be furious.