Civil Liberties 101: No, They Can't Watch You

Civil Liberties 101: No, They Can't Watch You

Feds Consider Gun Show Spying," we detailed how an employee of the Phoenix office of the Drug Enforcement Agency proposed using license plate scanners to gather information on gun show attendees. Even the American Civil Liberties Union was alarmed about the idea, which government mouthpieces predictably minimized as the idle musings of a low-level bureaucrat.

That post got lots of responses, many of them properly defiant, but far too many, in my mind.

Those who expressed indifference took two tacks.

First were those who simply assume it has always happened and what can you do about that? What you can do about it is demand it stop. We have this thing called the 4th Amendment, and it reads as follows:


"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."


There is nothing "reasonable" about using a machine that scans the license plates of every single car at a gun show and puts that information in a database for unknown future use. If the BATF wants to follow some known suspect into a show and keep him under surveillance, that's probably alright. But to turn everyone attending a show into a suspect? Unconstitutional.


The more worrying response was, "Well, if you aren't doing anything illegal, you don't have anything to be afraid of."

This is the rationale for every breach of civil liberties ever made. If you're law-abiding, the argument goes, you have nothing to fear. You may be law-abiding now, but what if the law changes? It's OK to buy an AR and a case of ammo today, but what happens if one day it is not? And the police have your license plate scanned and in a handy database?

Now, I like a Molon Labe T-shirt as much as the next man, but I'd like some options short of civil war if the wrong group gets elected. The best way to be sure Dianne Feinstein doesn't come around telling you to hand it in, Mr. & Mrs. America, is if she can't find you.


Here's a good public policy test. Anytime the government unveils a new capability, piece of equipment or policy in the name of "keeping us safe," ask how you'd have liked it in the hands of the Gestapo or the NKVD. If you wouldnít, maybe it shouldnít be in the hands of the BATF or the DEA or the FBI. Counting entirely on the state's good intentions is putting your head in a noose.

Recommended for You

Many of the concepts pioneered by Hobart are seen in modern armies across the world and the AVRE platform is alive and well. Historical

Hobarts Funnies and the Battle for the Scheldt

Neal S Shera - July 15, 2019

Many of the concepts pioneered by Hobart are seen in modern armies across the world and the...

Governor Northam is calling a special session of the General Assembly on Tuesday, July 9th, to do nothing but pass more gun control! 2nd Amendment

Virginia Governor Northam Declares War on Gun Owners

Virginia Citizens Defense League - July 09, 2019

Governor Northam is calling a special session of the General Assembly on Tuesday, July 9th, to...

Ontario Chief Firearms Officer, Dwight Peer, spoke with TheGunBlog.ca about the Canada-wide surge in buying AR-15 target rifles. 2nd Amendment

Ontario, Canada Chief Firearms Officer Comments on AR-15 Buying Surge and Gun Licensing

TheGunBlog.ca - July 16, 2019

Ontario Chief Firearms Officer, Dwight Peer, spoke with TheGunBlog.ca about the Canada-wide...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

M134 Mini-Gun

M134 Mini-Gun

While filming the 2018 season of Guns&AmmoTV we had the unique opportunity to fire the M134 Minigun.

Springfield Armory Saint Victor in .308

Springfield Armory Saint Victor in .308

The Saint Victor in .308 features a 16" light weight barrel, M-Lok® free float hand guard and included flip-up sights.

New Bushnell Prime 1700 and Nitro 1800 Rangefinders

New Bushnell Prime 1700 and Nitro 1800 Rangefinders

Jake Edson of Bushnell Optics tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead about the brand new Prime 1700 and Nitro 1800 rangefinders.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Please sign and share the petition to get the required 100,000 signatures by July 27. 2nd Amendment

Tell the White House that the 2nd Amendment Was Not Given to the People by Government

Firearms News - July 02, 2019

Please sign and share the petition to get the required 100,000 signatures by July 27.

Want the “Holy Grail” of AR-15 rifles? Brownells has made that possible with their BRN-Proto retro rifle. Rifles

Brownells BRN-Proto Retro Rifle

Patrick Sweeney - July 02, 2019

Want the “Holy Grail” of AR-15 rifles? Brownells has made that possible with their BRN-Proto...

The last of Germany's infamous Elefant tank destroyers. Historical

World War II German Elefant Tank Destroyers

Neal S Shera - July 12, 2019

The last of Germany's infamous Elefant tank destroyers.

See More Stories

More 2nd Amendment

Attorney Joshua Prince posted that his sources have informed him that the BATFE will be issuing a statement regarding pistol arm braces at the request of President Trump. 2nd Amendment

Is the Trump Administration Imposing More Gun Control through BATFE with a Ban on Pistol Braces? UPDATE

Firearms News Staff Report - August 13, 2019

Attorney Joshua Prince posted that his sources have informed him that the BATFE will be...

According to The Daily Caller, Trumpfs administration is considering a proposal that would use major tech companies like Google and Apple to monitor American citizens for signs of violent behavior and mental illness. 2nd Amendment

Trump Considers Social Credit Score System for Gun Ownership

Jim Grant - September 05, 2019

According to The Daily Caller, Trumpfs administration is considering a proposal that would...

According to WGAL News 8, making a ggun-like hand gestureh with your hand, is now a crime in PA. 2nd Amendment

PA Court Rules 'Finger Guns' Illegal

Jim Grant - September 03, 2019

According to WGAL News 8, making a ggun-like hand gestureh with your hand, is now a crime in...

See More 2nd Amendment

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW OUR CURRENT ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×