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NSA phone database threatens gun owners
with defacto Universal Gun Registration

John Gaver
May 14, 2005

John GaverGun owners beware. The NSA's recently disclosed, monumental database of phone records may well end up being used against gun owners, if it is not shut down and all of the collected data permanently destroyed.

George W. Bush blithely brushes off the valid concerns of Constitutionalists and privacy advocates, who claim that the unwarranted collection of that indiscriminate data constitutes a violation of the Fourth Amendment, by pointing out that no calls were actually monitored and only call records are being collected, as though this makes everything alright. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, that database, if left intact, will likely affect every American, sooner or later and gun owners are particularly at risk.

For decades, liberals have been pushing for "universal" gun registration, as a necessary first step to the "universal" gun confiscation, that they eventually hope to achieve. Fortunately for gun owners, until now, "universal" gun registration was all but an impossibility, since it would require either a national law to that effect or the enactment of such laws in all 50 states; neither of which was within the realm of reason. Furthermore, even if "universal" registration were to ever become law, only a small percentage of gun owners would actually line up like sheep, to register their constitutionally legal guns. Even the gun grabbers knew that "universal" gun registration was not realistically achievable... until now.

You see, until now, the problem for the gun grabbers is that they knew that if gun confiscation were to ever succeed, the government would have to know where all or at least almost all of the guns are located. With about 110 million households in the United States and only about 800,000 combined full time, sworn law enforcement officers (local, state and federal) in the United States or only about 150,000 on duty at any given moment, to deal with everything from speeding and bar fights to terrorism and protecting the President, the gun grabbers knew that, even if they were to enlist every police agency in the US and a large part of the armed forces, the task of doing door-to-door searches of 110 million households would take decades, during which time, many gun owners would move and get lost in the shuffle. But, all that has now changed.

Shortly after the attacks on the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon and using the excuse of fighting the "War on Terrorism" - an excuse that would become a trademark of many more assaults on the Constitution by the Bush Administration - George W. Bush illegally authorized the NSA to begin collecting unwarranted and indiscriminate phone data on every US citizen - not just those suspected of terrorism activities or any crime, for that matter. The reason why I use the term "illegally", is because the data that is being collected is neither supported by a court issued warrant, nor specific to a given suspect or group of suspects. Furthermore, statements from the NSA to Qwest Communication officials indicate that the NSA officials knew very well that what they were doing was illegal.

It should be noted that Qwest Communications is the only major phone company to stand up for the rights of their customers and are all that stands in the way of the gun grabbers. Should the NSA succeed in intimidating Qwest to turn over their records, the database would be complete and gun owners and many others would be at serious risk

The data collected by the NSA amounts to the largest database ever assembled by any government agency. It is a record of every phone call made or received by every household and business in the United States (except Qwest customers) for many years in the past (just how many, is not yet known). So why is this such a great threat to gun owners?

Defacto Gun Registration

When Qwest asked the NSA if the information from the phone records would be shared with other agencies, they were told that it would be shared with other agencies. So, let's look at what the BATFE might do with such a comprehensive database.

It can reasonably be assumed that most gun owners have, at one time or another, used their phone, to call a gun dealer, shooting  range, gun manufacturer, the National Rifle Association, the Gun Owners of America or other gun-related businesses or organization. Since the BATFE already has the phone numbers of every FFL holder in the nation and since most gun related organizations' phone numbers are public record, it would be a simple task to create a list, from the NSA phone record database (once complete), of every phone number that called or received a call from a gun-related business. But, since even that would not identify all gun owners, they would have to take an extra step.

Since gun owners tend to stick together, even those gun owners who have not called such businesses have probably called more than a few other gun owners. Are you beginning to see where this is leading? The BATFE could easily use a data mining program to identify all of the close friends of those who have called gun-related businesses. In other words, even if you have never called a gun-related business, the fact that six of the people who you routinely call have called such businesses, indirectly identifies you as a probable gun owner.

Voilà! Instant "universal" gun registration.

Such a list may not be 100% accurate. But, do you think that the government cares? Should the day come, when they decide to confiscate all guns, in the hands of citizens, such a list would identify the limited number of households most likely to have guns. Suddenly, the impossible task of searching 110 million homes has become a much smaller and more workable undertaking.

But, gun owners are not the only group at risk. Who you call or who calls you can tell as much about you as what you say on those phone calls. Since Bush has seen to it that there is absolutely NO JUDICIAL OVERIGHT, what the government chooses to look for in that database will only depend on who is in office at the time. Comprehensive lists could eventually be compiled on everyone from gun owners, to abortion protesters, to party activists, to people with AIDS. The list is endless.

Such a database will also bring an end to a major part of attorney-client privilege. Since there is NO JUDICIAL OVERIGHT, if the government wants the complete list of a particular attorney's clients, the attorney will never know that his client's have already been identified from his phone records. If a person who was found guilty of tax evasion had consulted a tax attorney, the IRS could easily get a list of every client of that attorney, by identifying every phone number that dialed his office and that he dialed. It wouldn't matter that you had simply called to ask if a certain deduction was legal in your case. You could expect an audit.

The potential for abuse of such a huge and comprehensive database is limited only by the imagination of the man or woman in the Whitehouse. The data was collected illegally, since there was NO JUDICIAL OVERIGHT and the data mining of that database that occurs behind closed doors, is similarly illegal, as there is NO JUDICIAL OVERIGHT over that process, either.

The time has come for all gun owners and other reasoning Americans to call and email your Congressman and Senators and tell them that they must put an immediate stop to Bush's illegal wire-taps and the unwarranted collection of indiscriminate phone data of US citizens, even if it requires the censure or ultimately, the impeachment of the President, to achieve it. Otherwise, we risk the possibility that Hillary will inherit that database and if that happens, freedom and liberty, as we know it, will come to an end.

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