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Border Patrol Agent Draws Gun On Boy Scout—Over A Photograph

Border Patrol

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by J.D. Tuccille

A group of Boy Scouts from Central Iowa received a lesson they won’t forget in federal manners at a border crossing from Canada into Alaska. According to the scoutmaster, a casual snapshot of a Border Patrol agent got the group of about two dozen scouts and volunteers detained, searched—and one of them ultimately held at gunpoint.

According to Marcus McIntosh of Iowa’s KCCI:

Boy Scout Troop 111 Leader Jim Fox spelled out what happened to him and the Mid-Iowa Boy Scout Troop 111 as four van-loads of Scouts and adult volunteers tried to drive from Canada into Alaska.

Fox said one of the Scouts took a picture of a border official, which spurred agents to detain everyone in that van and search them and their belongings.

“The agent immediately confiscated his camera, informed him he would be arrested, fined possibly $10,000 and 10 years in prison,” Fox said.

Fox said he was told it is a federal offense to take a picture of a federal agent.

Not wanting things to escalate, Fox said he did not complain.

Another of the Scouts was taking luggage from the top of a van to be searched when something startling happened.

“He hears a snap of a holster, turns around, and here’s this agent, both hands on a loaded pistol, pointing at the young man’s head,” Fox explained.

Charles Vonderheid with the Mid-Iowa Council of the Boy Scouts of America is getting a lot of grief for referring to the incident as a “lesson in civics.” But he told me that he made the comment after getting blindsided by reporters before learning any details about the encounter. He assured me, though, that he and the Boy Scouts are concerned about scouts’ safety and support them. He also said that Troop 111’s Jim Fox, who led the group that endured the gauntlet at the border, is “a trusted scoutmaster who cares about his boys.”

I’ve been unable to reach Fox, and I’ll update once I hear from him and Customs and Border Protection.

For the record, federal rules specifically permit photographing federal facilities, at least for “news, advertising, or commercial purposes.” There don’t seem to be any special limits on just-because snapshots.

Except where security regulations, rules, orders, or directives apply or a Federal court order or rule prohibits it, persons entering in or on Federal property may take photographs of—

(a) Space occupied by a tenant agency for non-commercial purposes only with the permission of the occupying agency concerned;

(b) Space occupied by a tenant agency for commercial purposes only with written permission of an authorized official of the occupying agency concerned; and

(c) Building entrances, lobbies, foyers, corridors, or auditoriums for news purposes.

Read more here.





  1. These feds must be scared of thier own shadow but according to my constitution I can take a picture of anything i want as long as it isn’t a classified document of which I am not suppose to see anyway because that is based on a need to know . These Oathbreakers have to be stopped sooner or later we can not allow things like that to continue. What if the gun had went off and killed that kid. I know what would happen if it were my kid

  2. This is another example of Obama fascist police in action. As a protect and serve generation federal officer (now thank heaven retired) I am disgusted at the behavior of Obama, Congress, and some federal police. Such instances must produce violent reactions by citizens.

  3. What does that BPA think he was gonna do? Pull out an AK and start spraying?
    Did the BPA seriously contemplate a headshot on a youngster?
    What are they filling these guys head with?

  4. Yeah. Wait till they try to get on a plane sometime and they find they’re on the no-fly/terrorist-watch list. They’ll never get off the list.

  5. if they are on the list, it would be because of off grid survival training, Christian activism, rifle/firearms training, archery training. and probably many other things.. hell I wouldn’t be surprised if being a good samaritan and helping an old lady cross the street landed you on that list.

    however they are U.S. citizens, and as such have a right to transport to U.S. land without this gratuitous overreach. I am surprised people haven’t stormed up there in masse and demanded the surrender of these agents for placing a child in danger and unconstitutional behavior that is grounds for treason.

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