Opinion: Yet another reason why the FBI should deeply concern Americans

This commentary is by Erich Pratt, senior vice president of Gun Owners of America.

The Department of Justice, and in particular, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, have come under fire in the last several years for abusing their authority for partisan political gain at the expense of anyone who might oppose some facet of the left-wing agenda.

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What we have learned, specifically, is that the FBI created a “Self-Indices Form” that allows individuals to add themselves to the NICS Indices, thereby ensuring that they would fail a background check and be unable to purchase a firearm.

In an unsurprising continuation of that trend, Gun Owners of America (GOA) uncovered another alarming policy that, without the authorization or even knowledge of Congress, was secretly created by the FBI and seeks to employ an internal form to disqualify Americans from exercising their Constitutional right to purchase a firearm.

The FBI operates the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), a congressionally authorized program to screen out people who are prohibited from purchasing a firearm under law. They do this by checking the potential buyer’s information against the NICS Indices, a database that contains conviction records and certain mental health information which would prohibit someone from receiving a firearm.

In 2019, a copy of a secret form was leaked to us at GOA. In response, we asked questions and filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the FBI, who subsequently tried to stymie our investigation at every turn. We were forced to sue for compliance with our requests, and even then, getting information was not easy.

What we have learned, specifically, is that the FBI created a “Self-Indices Form” that allows individuals to add themselves to the NICS Indices, thereby ensuring that they would fail a background check and be unable to purchase a firearm. At this point in our investigation, it remains unclear if this policy has any means for one to reverse a previous decision to “self-disqualify.”

A person who does not want to buy a firearm doesn’t have to go to this length; he or she could simply choose not to buy one. Sure, some might argue that this is a good way for those falling on tough times or struggling with depression or mental illness to protect themselves, but greater rights are at stake and other means exist to accomplish those goals. Worse still, without congressional approval and oversight, this system is ripe for abuse.

GOA has opposed the NICS system since its inception, and with good reason — as roughly 95% of initial denials are “false positives,” which means the system is violating the rights of law-abiding Americans by the millions.

In theory, the system was supposed to create a process whereby an individual’s past record of criminal conviction or serious mental illness would make a person ineligible to purchase a firearm. But instead of executing the law as written, the FBI has gone around the American people, and their elected representatives, to create their own additional means of disqualifying people from exercising their rights.

One can easily imagine law enforcement showing up at the door of someone whose ideas or beliefs, perhaps expressed on social media, do not conform to the current orthodoxy of those in power. The agent might say or imply that they’ll make it all go away if you just sign here. We are still trying to clarify whether this form has been used by federal agents, via intimidation, to convince anyone to surrender their rights.

Let’s not forget that government officials have already done this — illegally forcing honest gun owners to relinquish their rights. Consider the police chief who wrongly denied gun buyers because of their “age and gender,” or the sheriff who used unpaid traffic tickets to illegitimately deny carry permits to legitimate gun owners, or the hundreds of thousands of military veterans who have been prevented from owning firearms because of wartime-related PTSD, etc.

Just as dangerous, without congressional oversight, there is no way to confirm that rogue individuals are not forging forms and submitting them to the disqualification database, again possibly due to partisan political interests. While the FBI recently stated to the media that the form is no longer in use, they’ve yet to tell us that. Sadly, given the recent history of FBI leadership coupled with the Bureau’s unwillingness to cooperate with our ongoing investigation, this statement does not inspire confidence, and this policy must be confirmed as dismantled and all records expunged.

Let us all remember that federal agencies and the employees who serve in them are in a position of public trust granted to them by the American people. The betrayal of that trust is one of the most serious blows to our democracy and our national fabric.

Without action to halt this abuse and the many others like it that we have all witnessed, and unless we hold public officials accountable for their gross misdeeds, our rights ensured to us as Americans face imminent peril.

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Ratha Grimes and Wikimedia Commons
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10 thoughts on “Opinion: Yet another reason why the FBI should deeply concern Americans

  1. The amount of unconstitutional action in this administration begs the question: “What is being done about it?” We hear Republicans constantly demonizing the Democrats and Progressives for their unconstitutional actions, yet we don’t see anything of consequence being done about it. Most Republicans have become too overconfident about a “Red Wave” in the mid-term elections and are sitting on their laurels until then. “Then” might just be too late. Where are the patriots?

  2. ANY FORM GUN CONTROL UNDER THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTIONAL IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL! Government does not give us our rights. Our rights are not given to us by the Constitution. Our rights are given to us by God and are inherent to us as human beings and by the Laws of Nature. These rights that we are born with are affirmed to us by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments of the Constitution and specify what the government can and can not do to us as citizens of the United States. Government’s only power is the power which is enumerated to it by the Constitution. The federal government, a state, county or town can not pass a law contrary to the Constitution. Article 6 the Supremacy Clause makes the Constitution the supreme law of the land. Under our Constitution the government is not delegated the authority to legislate, enforce, or adjudicate laws pertaining to the exercise of our rights under the Constitution – Period. The government is not delegated the authority by our Constitution to require the government’s permission to exercise any right affirmed to us under the Constitution. The government is not delegated the authority by our Constitution to compel us to waive our guaranteed 4th Amendment right to be secure from unwarranted interrogation, search, or seizure in the absence of probable cause of criminal conduct. Or compel us to waive our guaranteed 5th Amendment right to due process as a precondition to being allowed (or denied) the exercise of our right to keep and bear arms. This violation of our 4th and 5th Amendment rights happens every time that we are interrogated under penalty of perjury without probable cause that a crime has been committed when we fill out B.A.T.F.E form 4473 to purchase a firearm. The government is not delegated the authority by our Constitution to compel us to waive our 10th Amendment right to a federal government exercising only those powers delegated to it by the United States Constitution, and State governments are prohibited the exercise of any power prohibited to the States by the United States Constitution.
    The government is not delegated the authority under the 14th Amendment to make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States. Government is not delegated by our Constitution the authority to license firearm dealers or operate or fund the most powerful anti-rights government agency on the planet called the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Since no Amendment in the Bill of Rights has been repealed thru Article V or by a National Convention of States, the only legal way to change the Constitution, all existing gun control laws presently violate five Amendments of the Bill of Rights and goes against the settled law of two Supreme Court decisions, Heller vs the District of Columbia 2008 and McDonald vs Chicago 2010. Both decisions affirm that the people’s right to keep and bear arms is an individual right and that citizens are allowed firearms in common use, those small arms or those that operate like them and are issued to our National Guard which comprises of citizen soldiers.

    The purpose of compelled background checks as a precondition to allowing or denying the transfer of a firearm is to deceive firearm owners and prospective owners into unknowingly waiving their rights guaranteed by the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 10th and 14th Amendments so they will have no rights left to claim when the government decides to register and confiscate our firearms. We have a right to keep and bear arms, not a privilege to keep and bear arms. Our rights are beyond the reach of the government and no citizen has to ask government permission to exercise a right. Government has no authority delegated to it by the Constitution to deceive its citizens into waiving their rights or acquiescing to the loss of their rights by subterfuge, scam, fraud, or force. DO NOT VOLUNTARILY GIVE UP YOUR RIGHTS!

  3. Every upright citizen of this country should be shaking in his/her boots after reading the stuff that has appeared in this issue of TNR. To think our tax dollars are being used against us in the ways the FBI use on us is gut wrenching. We are living in the aftermath of a stolen election in 2020, which was accomplished by abuse of power and the work of some highly placed people in government and the accomplices in the media. Even some media sources here in VT are in that mix. Anyone dealing with them knows what I am talking about.
    I believe when the next election rolls by, one of the results will be to start impeachment proceedings against the President immediately which will end in a vacancy to be filled by Harris. Then impeachment against her and that will have the same outcome. With Pelosi being history, there will be a new Speaker of the House, who had better be working out to get a stiff backbone in place because he/she will need it. This has to happen if we are to get the organization cleaned out of misfits, crooks, felons not yet officially named as such but are in the pipeline for court proceedings, and any other group or individual working to continue the illegal, unconstitutional work of the Biden Regime, starting with Susan Rice. All of the above will require the Republican party to work off the same sheet of music, and there will be no room for a Liz Cheney, or Susan Collins. That just cannot be. And groundwork needs to take place to identify all the folks at FBI that need to feel the swift slap on the a… from a big heavy corn and rattan broom wielded by the new President whomever that may be. God Bless the USA. Survival depends on the above or somethings similar happening.

  4. I find it quite interesting that we live in the day of Treehuggers that will protest trees being cut.
    We banned plastic straws because one was in the eye of a turtle.
    People that abuse animals can get stiff penalties that include jail time.
    We have Climate Changers right now aiming to change the very way that humans live, forever changing the path of advancement- in the name of “saving the planet”.
    Many things that need to be built in a community are not built because people don’t want to place one more building on the earth.

    I mean I can go on and on- and yet these same people think it’s okay to murder an actual baby in the womb?
    Isn’t life LIFE?
    These people that rescue animals and save trees then think killing the unborn is okay?

    It’s quite hard to wrap the mind around how the Left thinks- or doesn’t think.
    What their priorities are and are not..
    A choice is more important than a Life to a person that claims to be saving the planet?

  5. This article ranks along with the recent posting of what a dangerous town Springfield is– pumping up fear in the readership, nothing else. I ran across this list of the most dangerous towns in Vermont, and Springfield never made the list. The author also points out that Vermont ranks 48th in crime:
    https://www.roadsnacks.net/most-dangerous-cities-in-vermont/

    So, the validity of these claims about the FBI need to be fully explored before Pratt is to be accepted as credible.

    • I would suggest that the truth doesn’t always come from the media. However, what Erick Pratt
      wrote about is true and quite credible. It is unlawful for the ATF to create gunowner lists also. Guess what, they are transferring paper 4473 forms to computers data which is against the
      law and they have been caught doing it. They are also taking photos of record books at dealers.

      Now for the list of VT’s most dangerous cities, look at Barre #4. It lists 8,000+ residents and over 2,000 property crimes. That equates to 25% of Barre residents of becoming crime
      victims. If you consider removing all minors who live with parents, the number percentage increases. These numbers were taken from 2020 in the middle of the so-called pandemic when many people were at home because of lockdowns throughout the state.

      Perhaps your perception of creible is tained by ideology. The current media is not credible.

      • Look, I know how to write and break for paragraphs. This forum does not allow for edits and these line breaks are not from my writing. They are created after the submit button is used.

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