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FBI Engages in Warrantless Surveillance Again – This Time Over Legal Gun Sales on Facebook

If you’re tired of censorship and surveillance, join Reclaim The Net.

In a striking case bearing on privacy rights, a Texas man found himself under unwarranted surveillance by federal authorities after posting his personal firearms for sale on Facebook.

The man had not violated any laws, yet the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) transferred his personal data to the FBI, which then kept him under scrutiny for six months.

The exchange detailing the situation was brought to light in internal documents procured by The Epoch Times. These documents revealed that ATF staff had interrogated the man, who confessed to posting his own guns on Facebook for sale.

He stated that he had a penchant for purchasing new firearms, tinkering with them, and then selling them once he lost interest. He emphasized that the sales were not for profit.

Addressing the situation, Eric Olson, a lawyer affiliated with the Gun Owners of America (GOA), said he found no trace of illegal activity in the documents, the report states.

The records, he pointed out, depicted an activity carried out by countless firearms enthusiasts. GOA acquired the records by way of the Freedom of Information Act litigation that it had engaged against the ATF and FBI. Olson highlighted the fact that selling a personal collection does not amount to a crime, despite ATF seeming to view the frequency of the man’s transactions with suspicion.

Crucial to the story is the clandestine surveillance program that involves the ATF and FBI, which relies on the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) for identifying potential criminals. This information was shared by Erik Longnecker, an ATF spokesperson, who confirmed that the Facebook user in question was under daily observation by the FBI in 2021 due to potential offenses against federal laws that forbid second hand gun buying and non-licensed gun dealing.

Under this unique ATF-FBI initiative, the ATF can push for a suspect to be monitored on a daily basis for firearm sales, for a duration of anywhere between 30 to 180 days. The monitoring can be extended indefinitely. The FBI, however, chose to remain silent on whether the man in question was still under surveillance.

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