FBI Visiting Gun Shops to Investigate “People talking about Big Government”

under-surveillance

In keeping with the tradition of the FBI’s position on gun rights, it appears the Bureau is working overdrive to monitor and harass gun owners and the gun shops that sell to them.

While government surveillance of gun purchases and gun owners is nothing new, a recent visit by an FBI Counterterrorism agent to a Columbia, South Carolina gun shop has only reinforced the knowledge that the U.S. government is growing more and more concerned by the prospect of a well-armed populace – particularly one that prefers to live without constant government interference in their personal lives.

While the narrative surrounding “counterterrorism” operations used to eviscerate civil liberties after 9/11 was initially based upon the threat of Muslim fundamentalists, that narrative has clearly shifted to a focus on gun owning, law-abiding American citizens – both those who are politically active and those who are blissfully ignorant of current events.

For many, this shift of focus has been quite the surprise. Thus, when the Columbia, South Carolina gun shop in question was approached by an FBI counterterrorism agent on Monday, April 14, the individuals who spoke with him were somewhat alarmed to realize that the agent’s concern was not fundamentalist Muslims but Americans who promote small government.

According to an individual who was present during the visit (this person will remain anonymous for obvious reasons), the agent pulled up in a regular vehicle in plain clothes and took a look around the shop as if he were considering a purchase before approaching the staff and announcing that he was with the FBI Counterterrorism unit.

“Never in a million years would I have thought this guy was a fed,” said the witness. “He was in a completely normal vehicle. Regular clothes. Everything. I would have thought this guy was just some downhome country boy.”

After showing proper identification, the agent told the shop owners that he was tasked with all the gun shops in the general area and that he was charged with investigating “suspicious purchases” in accordance with counterterrorism operations.

The suspicious purchases he mentioned, however, were completely normal transactions. This included, paying with cash, purchasing long guns, and other similarly innocuous behavior.

However, what surprised the owners the most was his statement regarding what he was most interested in tracking.

According to the witness, the agent stated, “If you see some Middle Eastern guy come in. You don’t have to be so worried about that. What we’re really looking for are people talking about being sovereign such as sovereign citizens or people talking about Big Government.”

The agent also mentioned that he had a spreadsheet of all the gun shops in the area.

After this brief chat, the agent left a flyer with the shop that listed some of the more generic and normal behaviors which they were expected to view as suspicious.

Some of these trigger behaviors are:

  • Payment in cash or someone else’s credit card.
  • Reluctant or unwilling to produce valid I.D.
  • Large purchases or unusual inquiries into buying in bulk
  • Lack of knowledge involved in firearms or product usage
  • Hints at illegal or misuse of explosives
  • New or unknown customers
  • Nervousness or evasiveness

suspicious1In the end, while the visit to a local gun shop by an FBI Counterterrorism agent is no surprise, it should serve as a stark reminder that the U.S. government is vastly concerned about a well-armed populace. Gun rights have been gradually eroded in the United States for decades but the assault on gun rights has been ratcheted up to a new level by the Obama administration.

Still, those expecting a public declaration of total gun illegality and martial law confiscation will be wringing their hands in anticipation for a very long time. Of course, while they wring their hands and anticipate the declaration of outright war against gun owners, their guns are being slowly stripped from their hands in an incremental fashion. Slight rule changes and isolated confiscations will continue to take place over time until the public has been properly acclimated to them as a fact of life, at which point the public’s line in the sand will be moved slightly forward once more. Again, the line will be crossed, but only slightly. Eventually, Americans will wake up to find themselves completely disarmed and neutered in a land in which they once believed they were free. At that point, with a completely defenseless population, the thin veneer of freedom will be lifted.

It is time for gun owners and gun rights activists to go on the political offensive. In 2014, it is no longer a legitimate mode of activism to be content to defend your already attenuated freedoms. It is time to make demands. It is time to throw compromise out the window.

Related Activist Post Article:
25 Reports That Can Put You on the Terror Watch List

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of six books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom7 Real ConspiraciesFive Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1and volume 2, and The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria. Turbeville has published over 300 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV.  He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com. 


SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You

GOOD NEWS: New Head of HHS Was Responsible for Making Outrageous Government Shutdown Decisions

Guest post by Marguerite Bowling

President Obama’s pick to head the Department of Health and Human Services led the federal government’s response during last year’s “shutdown”—which included officials erecting barricades around open-air monuments.

Sylvia Mathews Burwell—who was deputy chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, among other roles—currently serves as Obama’s director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Obama formally announced today that he will nominate Burwell to replace outgoing HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, whose resignation went public yesterday.

“When the government was forced to shut down last October…Sylvia was a rock, a steady hand,” Obama said in a Rose Garden ceremony this morning. He repeatedly praised Sebelius for her leadership and noted that Burwell’s “prudent manager” skills would be needed for the “tough challenges” of running the nation’s health agency.

The government largely closed down after Congress failed to enact a continuing budget resolution providing funds for fiscal year 2014. During the 16-day shutdown, 800,000 federal workers were furloughed, the National Zoo’s “panda cam” went dark, and the National Park Service set up barriers to open-air monuments, citing security concerns.

Sebelius, widely blamed for the botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act’s online health exchanges and other mishaps, said HHS was making “tremendous progress” to implement the health law known as Obamacare.

One more glitch plagued Sebelius, though, toward the end of her remarks. ”Unfortunately, a page is missing,” she said calmly, before ab-libbing the remainder.

She leaves after five years, despite saying only days earlier that she would stay with HHS through November.

Burwell said that she looks forward to further implementing Obamacare. Among lawmakers and pundits praising the nomination was Sen. John McCain (R–Ariz.), who said on Twitter: “Sylvia Burwell is an excellent choice to be the next #HHS Secretary.”

However, Burwell could be in for a tough confirmation process. Although she was easily confirmed by the Senate a year ago to head OMB by a vote of 96-0, this time — ahead of the mid-term elections – she could face resistance, as Politico reported.


Read more at The Foundry.

Doug Ross @ Journal

Larwyn’s Linx: Government Power and Evil

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Nation

Government Power and Evil: Daniel Greenfield
Why Obama’s Presidency Has to Be All About Race Now: Federalist
Pelosi and Schumer need to read the Constitution: Betsy McCaughey

The Meltdown of the Obama Genderhawks: Michelle Malkin
‘Tax Freedom Day’ falls three days later this year: DC
Two minority Democrats in Chicago support GOP candidate for governor: Allen West

Democrats, GOP all just united behind Cruz bill – unanimously: BPR
Obama To Attend Texas Fundraiser Same Day As Ft. Hood Memorial: CBS Houston
RGA poll shows Scott Brown ahead of Jeanne Shaheen in NH: Moe Lane

Economy

White House #WarOnMath: Women do not make 77 cents on the dollar: Freddoso
40 Central Banks Are Betting This Will Be The Next Reserve Currency: ZH
Hedge Fund Guys Who Started Mortgage Meltdown Want Your Tax Dollars: VDARE

Scandal Central

Massive Voter Fraud Tainted ’12 Election: Dick Morris
Ex Post Facto – Connecticut’s “Assault Weapon” Ban Is Blatantly Unconstitutional: Bearing Arms
GOWDY: You don’t have discretion on whether to follow the law or not… HOLDER: I disagree…: Scoop

Climate & Energy

The Washington Post Corrects, Disingenuously: Power Line
EPA Studies and Preordained Conclusions: AT
The Truth about Fracking : Kevin D. Williamson

Media

Some thoughts on 2016 from an anonymous journalist reader: Instapundit
Our Racist Media: Instapundit
Sharpton on Drug Sting Tape: Rev says government tried to set him up: NYDN

MOBZILLA. The Purging of Brendan Eich: Wilderness
The Endless Purge: Ace
New Dem Poll Warns Of Midterm Disaster For Democrats: WZ

CNN “Stunned” By White House’s Dishonest Rhetoric On Equal Pay: WZ
Ben Sasse: A Story That Needed Telling: Erick Erickson
Liz Cheney Fires Back at Pelosi: ‘Her Spine Doesn’t Reach Her Brain’: Mediaite

World

The New World “disOrder” Is On The Horizon: Asylum Watch
Kerry Rejects ‘Premature Judgment About the Failure of Everything’ in Obama’s Foreign Policy: PJM
Carney Says Iran’s Hostage-Taker Pick ‘Not Viable’ for UN Ambassador: PJM

Islam Is What Happens When Civilization Loses: Daniel Greenfield
Testifying Before U.S. Senate, Kerry Places Blame on Israel for Peace Talks Failure: Algemeiner
‘Recognize Reality’: McCain Criticizes Kerry for His Trifecta of Foreign Policy Failures: Breitbart

Banned in the British Library: Pipes
How to Assist Evil: Walter Williams
2013 Military Photographer of the Year awards: Stripes

Sci-Tech (courtesy BadBlue Tech News)

Google Enters the Hotel Business, Takes on Advertisers Priceline, Expedia, and Trip Advisor: Mish
Windows XP support officially ends today, still used by over 25 percent of PCs: Engadget
Brands of 1964: Where Are the Foods of Yesteryear? They’re Still Here!: American Digest

Cornucopia

Gender Pay Gaps and the Mighty Obama Samurai Pen: MOTUS
A Floridian Comments On Jeb Bush’s Immigration Trial Balloon: VDARE
Pro wrestling legend The Ultimate Warrior dies at 54: Fox

Image: Ukraine: Communist lawmakers scuffle with right-wing
Sponsored by: Matt Bevin for Senate — Help Fire Mitch McConnell

QOTD: ““For thirty years, nobody has wanted to run against [Mitch McConnell]. For thirty years he has been a bully who has intimidated people, and he has had this Machiavellian death-grip on people, and he has caused people to live in fear. But this our government, we pay his salary, and there is no reason people should be intimidated by a man who works for them.”” –Matt Bevin

Doug Ross @ Journal

ARMS RACE AMONG THE BUREAUCRATS: Why has every government agency become militarized?

Guest post by Rob Nikolewski

SANTA FE, N.M. — In late February, four federal agents carrying side arms with a drug-sniffing dog descended on the Taos Ski Valley in what was called a “saturation patrol.”

Authorities were working on tips of possible drug selling and impaired driving in the ski resort’s parking lot and surrounding area.

But the agents weren’t from the FBI, ATF or even the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Rather, the agents represented the U.S. Forest Service.

“It’s one of the untold stories about government,” said former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, who lives in Taos, is an avid skier and has been a leading critic of the operation that turned up only a few minor infractions. “People don’t grasp the size and the scope of these entities and their law enforcement arms.”

It may come as a surprise to many U.S. taxpayers, but a slew of federal agencies — some whose responsibilities seem to have little to do with combating crime — carry active law enforcement operations.

Here’s a partial list:

That’s right, NOAA — the folks who forecast the weather, monitor the atmosphere and keep tabs on the oceans and waterways — has its own law enforcement division. It has a budget of $ 65 million and consists of 191 employees, including 96 special agents and 28 enforcement officers who carry weapons.

“There’s no question there’s been a proliferation of police units at the federal level,” said Tim Lynch, director of the Project On Criminal Justice for the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank based in Washington, D.C. “To me, it’s been a never-ending expansion, a natural progression, if you will, of these administrative agencies always asking for bigger budgets and a little bit more power.”

It’s been estimated the U.S. has some 25,000 sworn law enforcement officers in departments not traditionally associated with fighting crime. According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and in a tabulation compiled by the Wall Street Journal in 2011, 3,812 criminal investigators are working in areas other than the U.S. departments of Treasury, Justice, Defense and Homeland Security.

Lynch says it’s hard to tell how much money federal agencies spend on their respective law enforcement divisions.

“We need a fuller accounting of exactly how many police units have proliferated in the federal government and how much it’s costing taxpayers,” said Lynch, who said he would like to see members of Congress ask agency officials direct questions about budget and staffing.

The Wall Street Journal reported that, in 2008, agents armed with assault rifles from NOAA, along with officers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, raided a businesswoman’s offices in Miami looking into charges that she was violating the Endangered Species Act by trading in coral.

“I felt like I was being busted for drugs, instead of coral,” Morgan Mok said afterward. “It was crazy.”

Mok said she obtained the coral legally and eventually paid a $ 500 fine and served a year’s probation for failing to complete the proper paperwork.

Why is a law enforcement arm necessary at NOAA?

“NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement protects marine wildlife and habitat by enforcing domestic laws and international treaty requirements designed to ensure these global resources are available for future generations,” NOAA spokesman David Miller said in an email to New Mexico Watchdog, pointing out that the division has existed since 1970. “Our special agents and enforcement officers ensure compliance with the nation’s marine resource laws and take enforcement action when these laws are violated.”

As for the U.S. Forest Service, Special Agent Robin Poague defended the use of the agency’s law enforcement officers — called LEOs — in the Taos operation that resulted in harsh criticism from many residents.

“Rangers were armed when the Forest Service started 100 years ago,” Poague said. “We have a long history of law enforcement.”

Portions of the Taos Ski Valley sit on federal land. If there were suspicions of drug activity leading to the operation in February, why not use the DEA instead?

“U.S. Forest Service land is our primary responsibility, it’s not the DEA’s,” Poague told New Mexico Watchdog by telephone from his office in Albuquerque.

A Forest Service recruitment video says the agency employs about 700 law enforcement personnel. Poague said the service’s law enforcement division was created in 1994.

But many other federal agencies established their own after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

In the aftermath of the attacks, the FBI shifted its attention to tackling terrorism, and Congress gave permanent powers to inspectors general in more than two dozen agencies.

By last count, 25 agencies with law enforcement divisions fall under their respective offices of inspectors general.

With their growth has come criticism that officers are becoming overly militarized.

“The whole notion of police operations these days, that they’re dressed to kill, that they’re up against an enemy, is wrong,” Johnson said. “Citizens are not the enemy.”

In 2010, the Department of Education defended its purchase of 27 12-gauge shotguns to replace old firearms used by its Office of Inspector General, the law enforcement arm of the department. DoE said the guns were necessary to help combat “waste, fraud, abuse, and other criminal activity involving Federal education funds, programs and operations.”

A year later, DoE Office of Inspector General special agents raided a California home at 6 a.m. to apprehend a man the department said was involved in criminal activity. DoE officials did not say why the raid was conducted, releasing a statement that said, “the office conducts raids on issues such as bribery, fraud, and embezzlement of federal student aid funds.”

“In these cases, it causes you to think, is this agency really necessary, is this unit really necessary,” Lynch said.

In an email to New Mexico Watchdog, a spokeswoman for the DoE Office of Inspector General — the department’s law enforcement arm — reported it has a staff of 260 members, 90 of which are criminal investigators. Its budget is $ 57.7 million for fiscal 2014.

Defenders of the agencies say armed law enforcement provides a deterrent and that agents need to be armed to protect themselves against potentially dangerous criminals.

In fact, just last month a Forest Service ranger in North Carolina was shot and killed by a murder suspect, who also killed a police dog. On Jan. 1, 2012, a National Park ranger was shot and killed at Mount Rainier, in Washington state.

Contact Rob Nikolewski at rnikolewski@watchdog.org and follow him on Twitter @robnikolewski

Doug Ross @ Journal