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Attorney: FBI Screening Gun Owners against Terror Database without Authority

Attorney: FBI Screening Gun Owners against Terror Database without Authority
Attorney says FBI violating privacy, due process and equal protection by secretly using personal information from the ATF Form 4473 for the unauthorized purpose of checking gun buyers against the Terror Screening Database.

“FBI admits unauthorized program against American gun owners,” attorney and policy analyst Paloma Capanna charged in an update on Robinson vs. Sessions, a lawsuit on civil rights violations resulting from matches on the “No-Fly List.”

“The US DOJ Attorneys admitted in their Answering Brief that the FBI screens ‘all’ Americans seeking to lawfully purchase a firearm against the Terrorist Screening Database (“TSDB”),” Capanna wrote, quoting:

“Since 2004, as part of its background checks for all potential firearms purchasers, the NICS has searched a file containing a list of known or suspected terrorists that is exported by the Terrorist Screening Center from the TSDB into the FBI’s National Crime Information Center database.”

Back in 2015 then-Director James Comey testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee and made it sound like an exception where FBI was “alerted” and “notified.” Additionally, in his exchange with Sen. Chuck Grassley, he noted “There are a variety of things that we do when we are notified that someone on our known or suspected terrorist database is attempting to buy a firearm,” up to and including stopping the transaction, placing a suspect under surveillance, or arrest.

We’ve discussed the danger of using such lists, developed in secret from undisclosed sources of unknown (to the public) reliability. We’ve also seen how flight denials can be based on mistakes, as happened to the late Sen. Edward Kennedy. How many Americans have such resources and connections to be able to expeditiously clear matters up? We’ve also seen serious National Instant Check System flaws, and how “Virtually all of those denied purchasing a gun are false positives.”

We’ve seen Joint Terrorism Task Force triggers as bafflingly all-encompassing as defending the Constitution, supporting liberty candidates and ideals, sporting such apparel or bumper stickers, paying in cash, shaving your beard, and traveling an “illogical” distance to a gun-related event. We’ve seen the sorry state of bureaucratic overreach and infringements devolve into the even more ridiculous, as with the Pennsylvania man placed on a watch list after regularly taking a giant inflatable pink pig to political rallies.

Those demanding gun purchases be halted because of secret lists of unknown accuracy, administered by faceless bureaucrats with unknown sympathies and motives, are essentially advocating for a police state, where fundamental rights can be denied without due process. And face it—if you were a terrorist, and were further inclined to buy a gun “legally,” wouldn’t a NICS denial be a pretty good indication that you’ve been made, and allow you to evade and respond with countermeasures?

Capanna’s revelation adds the further troubling dimension of a federal agency involving itself in an area where it has no legal authorization to do so. But in the absence of a provable denial, having standing to stop the practice in court could be problematic, protracted and expensive. Nonetheless, Paloma maintains all gun purchasers subjected to NICS have been harmed:

“[T]he violation of their civil rights begins the moment the FBI secretly uses their personal information from the ATF Form 4473 for the unauthorized purpose of checking them against the TSDB … Robinson vs. Sessions is about Privacy – the confidentiality of the personal information submitted on the ATF Form 4473. It’s about Due Process – including that neither the ATF nor the FBI tells you what they’re doing with your personal information. It’s about Equal Protection – because American gun owners are the only category or class singled out for discriminatory treatment as being the most likely group responsible for terrorist acts carried out with a firearm.”

An alternative way to stop this would be by having Congress intervene. Such efforts take time and are fraught with delays and resistance, and the current crop of do-nothing Republicans caving to obstructionist Democrats means relief is not something we can count on.

Still, there is one person who can cut through the red tape with a stroke of the pen. Donald Trump owes his presidency to gun owners. The FBI reports to AG Sessions who reports to him. He has authority to issue an executive order and stop the unauthorized practice today.

Unless he hears from a lot of concerned gun owners, most who will remain unaware of this issue thanks to deliberate indifference outside of a niche liberty advocacy readership, don’t count on it.

Also see:


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David Codrea’s opinions are his own. See “Who speaks for Oath Keepers?”



David Codrea blogs at The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance (, and is a field editor/columnist for GUNS Magazine. Named “Journalist of the Year” in 2011 by the Second Amendment Foundation for his groundbreaking work on the “Fast and Furious” ATF “gunwalking” scandal, he is a frequent event speaker and guest on national radio and television programs.



  1. The lefts arm to undermine the government and the Constitution of the UNITED STATES.

  2. Thank you for getting this information out to the public…and, I assure you this report will be widely spread so that Americans may know how seriously our rights are being challenged and circumvented by our own government officials and to address our concerns with president Trump asking for his immediate intervention to put a stop to at least this form of tyranny!

  3. Trump is basically worthless. I, myself, wrote him a letter, asking him, through the Solicitor General, to file a brief amicus curiae in favor of the petition for certiorari in Kolbe v. Hogan, now pending in the Supreme Court. Did he? No. Did he or anyone from his Administration, even bother to respond to me? No. Did I file such a brief on my own behalf, part of the argument in which explained how the Kolbe decision adversely affects the President’s own powers? Yes. Am I supposed to be defending him; or he is supposed to be defending us? Enough said.

    1. Exactly Dr. Vieira, except that Trump may or may not be “worthless”.

      If “his” Solicitor General is working against him, much that should will not reach his ears. I believe that is one reason that he uses twitter (I do not use any social media, but may have to if that is what it takes to reach the current President’s ear). What we have/may have is so many domestic enemies and traitors to the USA, the American people, and the US Constitution serving within the federal government that NO ORDERS FROM ANY SUPERIORS THAT DEVIATE IN ANY WAY FROM THE US CONSTITUTION should be followed by any who serve within government. Until we removeand replace those who are UNLAWFULLY, and at times treasonously, working against our nation from within, NONE who are in “superior” positions in civil or military can be trusted.

      James Madison: “If our nation is ever taken over, it will be taken over from within.”

      So how do we run our government (I know that you already know this, Dr. Vieira, but an awful lot of Americans, us, do not have as complete an education as you do. So bear with me, please and feel free to correct me where I go off course. I am always willing to learn, or to debate)?

      Thankfully that IS IN WRITING, follow it to the letter! Remember that it is always those that Oath bound in government here in the USA have the PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY to only carry out LAWFUL orders, edicts, laws, statutes, etc and usually are also the ones that pay the price for those actions, IF any price is to be paid. All who serve are required in writing to behave in a certain way; to enforce, carry out, implement specific duties of either the BRANCH one’s positiion is located in, or of the OFFICE of a branch we serve within. Nobody can question what actions one who serves takes as long as those actions are in Pursuance thereof the US Constitution, not the UN, or any foreign nation, nor the militry (US or UN), etc and can be found in writing within that document.

      Thomas Jefferson said: “Our peculiar security is in the possession of a written Constitution. Let us not make it a blank paper by construction”.

      James Madison said: “Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government”.

      That is WHY our allegaince is to the US Constitution and the state Constitutions instead of any person or position, or office. That is so that when problems occur, all one has to do is refer to the original document and carry out the duties listed there in a constitutional manner. The people who serve above may be corrupt, but that document NEVER is corrupted. Though false copies of Constitutions may be posted so verify that yours is as the original is.

      J. Reuben Clark: “God provided that in this land of liberty, our political allegiance shall run not to individuals, that is, to government officials, no matter how great or how small they may be. Under His plan our allegiance and the only allegiance we owe as citizens or denizens of the United States, runs to our inspired Constitution which God himself set up. So runs the oath of office of those who participate in government. A certain loyalty we do owe to the office which a man holds, but even here we owe just by reason of our citizenship, no loyalty to the man himself. In other countries it is to the individual that allegiance runs. This principle of allegiance to the Constitution is basic to our freedom. It is one of the great principles that distinguishes this “land of liberty” from other countries”.

      There is an important rule of constitutional law called the canon of antisuperfluity (or canon against surplusage), which despite its cumbersome name, MEANS SIMPLY THAT EVERY SINGLE WORD OF THE CONSTITUTION, or lesser laws, SHOULD BE GIVEN LEGAL EFFECT UNLESS THEIR CONTEXT CLEARLY SHOWS THEY HAVE NO MEANING (I owe credit to someone for this and at this moment cannot find who said it, I am sorry).

      Daniel Webster: “We may be tossed upon an ocean where we can see no land – nor, perhaps, the sun or stars. But there is a chart and a compass for us to study, to consult, and to obey. That chart is the Constitution.” He also asked: “Is the Constitution worth preserving?” He said, “Then guard it as you would the very seat of your life. Guard it not only against the open blows of violence but also against that spirit of change.”

      During the ratification debates, Archibald Maclaine of North Carolina not only said that we “should disregard” unconstitutional acts, but that we should “punish them for the attempt.”

      We have many that will need prosecution. I am hoping that all those that serve, but particularly Pres. Trump starts to work to understand the document that he is contract and Oath bound to, the great requirement of “Preserving” the US Constitution will cover much action taken against the domestic enemies and against the traitors who work from within to destroy our nation, our legitimate government.

  4. “Privacy”, “due process”, “equal protection”…all of these “lists” with adverse effects on those “listed” are “Bills of Attainder”, and unconstitutional per se.

    1. Finally, someone who knows what a “Bill of Attainder” is. Great Job Edwin!

      Instead of just saying “Unconstitutional,” you used the actual term. Everyone should follow Edwin’s lead….then be able to explain why it’s in the Constitution.

  5. Actually it is a waste of time and resources to check out people who are following the law. I’m pretty sure that the terrorists in Paris didn’t get their AK 47’s through a licensed gun dealer.

    1. You are right. but (and in full disclosure, I am part of the law suit). I live in New York and have been fighting for our diminishing Second Amendment Rights by advocating for gun owners. If you know how the “background checks” came about you will know that the NRA helped sell it to NRA members with the premise that the information will be held close by ATF and would not be available to any other Law Enforcement Agency with out due process. It is the only way the law could get passed. Gun Owners (with this promise and rule of law) voluntarily gave up their Fifth Amendment Rights to appease the Left with gun control zealots. We were also assured by the Gun Control Zealots that they would never ask us to give up more rights in the future. We all know how that is working out. Bottom line, you can rape and murder a child, throw their body in a sewer and YOU have the right to remain silent. You wanna buy a gun? Why you must submit to a Government Interrogation and then approval, or no gun for you. So much for “shall not be infringed. The FBI violated due process and should be held accountable. Both You and I know that gun owners are by nature law abiding citizens and whole background check thing is for show. Here in NY however, it will now be queried against you prescriptions. Once you give up one right, the others seem to fly away too.

  6. Dr. Vierra, Did you ever stop to realize that the President is not a constitutional scholar like your self , but that does not mean that I do not love my country any more than you do. Did you ever stop to think that just maybe the man, and yes that is all he is , a man has his platter quite full eight now . Perhaps it is time to step back and consider that not every one is so self important as yourself,step up and offer a real heart felt meaning of service to a man in spite of his faults may be trying to bring us back from the place of no return.

  7. I’ve been trying to figure out President Trump , it, seems on some thing’s he doing all right and , on other topic’s I scratch my head I know , that there are fox’s guarding the hen-house , most , of his pick’s suck ; To get , off topic , there’s a lot , of thing’s happening now , that don’t add-up ; Concerning the monument’s , if I was a leader in law enforcement I’d would have someone guarding those monument’s 24/7 understanding the climate , so far one sheriff in North Carolina has done his job , with regards to catching these thug’s . Historically these Antifa guy’s would , of been toast , by now ! We have Mayor’s , that are in cahoots and are terring these monuments’s down , at the dead , of night a clear violation , of their Oath’s of Office and nobody moms’ a word , about , this behavior , it seem’s , that , the switch has been turned off , is , this a coincidence ? My understanding , is , that a coincidence , is , when lightning hit’s someone . The Oath Keepers , seem to catch every infringement and the militia’s do too , but Government in general , is corrupt and all these event’s going on and the average , of the population is clueless ; In my opinion , there’s something beneath the surface, that nobodies’s catching and Hurricane Harvy doesn’t add-up either , the intensity and location , seem similar too Katrina , the same kind , of problems , where the local Mayor’s are disobeying the President , again law enforcement aren’t , being team player’s , although the people involved in rescue operations’ are doing a great job and their the only one’s I got any good things to say about !!!

  8. Those (4473) form’s along , with universal background checks’ are complete and total gun-control and , what do , we exspect , when we give up our right’s ; do , we ever doubt , when we allow our right’s too be usurped , that the Government , is going to play , by their own rule’s ; The Government , that we have now , by definition , is a “Police State” ; They couid care less about our Constitution , or, our Constitutional right’s ; Terrorist watch-list’s, is a dog & pony show all designed too keep we the people,
    under control and a subliminal form , of gun-control , it’s away , of shutting , the people.-up and a bureaucrats’ utopian smack-down , when , they up-load a new regulation to add , on to that list ,with their computer’s , taking another one , of , our right’s away, with know over-sight ; Presidents’ come and go , the bureaucracy never change’s , that’s why President Trump can’t get anything done , the only cure , is to replace the current bureaucracy , by defunding and never replacing ; Under the Articles of Confederation a bureaucracy , would be all the way to the left , of center , you-know , that little-ball , which sits , on the middle , of the linear line ; That ball , is hanging , on the left edge , of that line , ready to fall off , that’s the problem , if I wereTrump , there would be a lot , of pink-slip’s , on , that mo-jammer and a add on to that mess , we really have a one party system , because the oligarchs’ pay-off both sides a good example , is George Soros’ , another reason , that President Trump , is unable to function ; What a mess !!!

  9. Dr. Vieira,
    Would you, according to some terms and conditions, accept appointment as a special prosecutor, and or use a writ of scire facias via which to prosecuted various nominal govt crimes?
    Tx for any consideration of this question.
    RJM –

  10. Well………………I know I will draw flak from this but…………….YES some “local nuts” do buy weapons from dealers because they are not connected with any group which can obtain them through illegal means. I found four Eastern European individuals at a shooting range with high dollar weapons learning how to shoot. Yes I called an agency and had them checked out. You don’t know what’s out there until you look very hard. Checking the forms against a watch list, I for one support it.

  11. Yet when a Florida gun shop called the FBI and told them a Muslim was wanting to buy a large amount of ammo, guns, armor etc and was very suspicious the FBI said not to worry and that is the terrorist that shot up the Orlando night club and the terrorist worked for a sub contractor of the FBI. Seems like they only worry about real Americans like Christians and patriots. I hope Comey and McCabe rot in hell.

  12. Well then the unregistered street gangs won’t be matched seems like. So what is the point? Another attack on the people.

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