A Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and FBI memo sent to state and local law enforcement agencies that included a warning about individuals who possess “large amounts” of ammo. According to joint Roll Call notice, citizens who buy or own significant amounts of bullets and guns could be potential terrorists. The joint agency bulletin urged their law enforcement peers to be watchful for residents with “unusual amounts” of guns, ammunition, explosives, accelerants, or explosive precursor chemicals.
Recently proposed and passed state gun control laws relating to the purchase of ammunition spurred a plethora of sales at gun stores. Before a new Maryland gun control law went into effect in October, residents purchased guns at a record rate of 1,000 per day. Many Second Amendment advocates believe than Americans across the country are stockpiling guns and bullets while they are not only still affordable, but also available. The ammo shortage which occurred after the Sandy Hook tragedy last December has not yet completely subsided.
An excerpt from the DHS and FBI memo reads:
The following activities could indicate attempts to stockpile large quantities of weapons or explosive materials for use in an attack. Depending on the context time, location, personal behaviors, and other indicators persons who attempt to acquire explosive materials or precursors should be reported to appropriate authorities. Large quantities of weapons are typically cached in a location such as an individual’s home, storage facility, or vehicle, but can be found attended by the individual, such as in luggage while traveling or unattended, discarded or seemingly discarded, in a public area.
The DHS and FBI memo goes on to state that “Constitutional activities” should not be reported or necessitate information-sharing. The bulleting goes on to state that Constitutional actions should be reported if the activities “support the source agency’s suspicion that the behavior observed is not innocent, but rather reasonably indicative of criminal activity associated with terrorism, including evidence of pre-operational planning related to terrorism.” Of course, buying ammunition and guns is a Second Amendment right and therefore constitutional, making the controversial memo contradictory in nature.
The joint Roll Call Release was sent to private security agencies and public first responders of all types. The suspicious activities descriptions detailed in the memo were derived from standard criteria in the Information Sharing Environment (ISE) Functional Standard for Suspicious Reporting document drafted in 2009. The ISE Functional Standard reportedly governs information collections for the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative – NSI. The NSI is an interagency project which compiles suspicious activity reports from police agencies from throughout the United States.
Thousands of American gun owners probably did not have a clue that stocking up on ammo and buying reloading supplies might have landed them on a terrorist watch list. Exactly when an American’s ammo and gun purchases go from the innocent exercising of Second Amendment rights to potential terrorist activity remains unclear and appears to be quite a subjective process.
Do you think the DHS and FBI memo is an infringement upon Second Amendment rights?
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