The NRA and ACLU make strange bedfellows. These two organizations usually support politicians from opposing parties, their members by-and-large are from opposing parties, and their ideologies generally oppose. However, they are coming together now for the greater good of dealing a blow to the NSA’s sweeping domestic spying program. The ACLU recently filed suit to end the NSA program that they believe to be far too intrusive into innocent citizen’s lives, while simultaneously being in conflict with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Several news organizations have filed briefs in support of the lawsuit including Fox, Bloomberg, and National Public Radio. However, the arrival of the NRA joins the right and left of the political spectrum in unity against the overreaching Obama administration and the NSA program.
Make no mistake, the NSA program threatens a multitude of our civil liberties; the NRA joins the suit specifically because of the danger the NSA spying poses to the 2nd Amendment. Over the years Congress has passed a series of laws making it illegal for the government to build any type of “gun registry.” These laws come because history has taught us that one of the first tools of the tyrant is to disarm the population. The only way for a despot to know if the population has been disarmed is to first create a registry detailing who owns firearms and where those people can be found. To avoid the possibility of ever truly disarming the population, Congress has created a web of legislation that should seemingly make a registry impossible.
And that web of legislation is at the very heart of the NRA’s argument. “It would be absurd to think that the Congress would adopt and maintain a web of statutes intended to protect against the creation of a national gun registry, while simultaneously authorizing the FBI and the NSA to gather records that could effectively create just such a registry.”
Which is exactly what the NSA program can do. It may not be a completely comprehensive registry of American firearm owners, but the NSA can develop a very thorough list of many of the probable gun owners in the United States. The NRA explains how in their brief: “Under the government’s reading of Section 215, the government could simply demand the periodic submission of all firearms dealers’ transaction records, then centralize them in a database indexed by the buyers’ names for later searching.”
The Obama administration and the NSA have attempted to defend the domestic spying program by saying that they only “query” the database a certain number of times for specific national security reasons, and that Congress authorized the surveillance with the Patriot Act, which allows for the collection of business records “relevant” to terrorism. But both of these arguments are dubious at best.
First of all, Representative Justin Amash brought a vote up before the House in July to attempt to end the NSA domestic spying program. His attempt failed, but it revealed something very telling about the Patriot Act provisions that the NSA believes gives them the legal right to spy on innocent Americans. The chief architect and author of the Patriot Act, Jim Sensenbrenner, (R-WI) argued that the NSA had gone much further than the Patriot Act ever intended to allow them to go. He voted to end the domestic spying program. How can the NSA argue that the Patriot Act gives them authorization to spy on us when its author says that it does no such thing? So upset is Sensenbrenner with what the NSA is doing, he has filed a friend of the court brief in support of the ACLU, effectively joining the ACLU and the NRA in this lawsuit. The Patriot Act does not give the NSA the authority to spy on us.
Secondly, we have learned over the last month or so that the administration and the NSA are lying when they say they only query this information for “national security reasons” or for “terrorism.” The NSA, we’ve learned, has been giving out information to other government agencies for them to use in the criminal cases they are pursuing. Not only that, the agencies are then instructed to lie about how they got the information that helped them to put the case together, so as not to uncover the spying that the NSA has been doing. The fact is that the NSA has used this spying program against us more than they’ve used it for us. Since the administration and the NSA have lied to us repeatedly about this program (and many other things), how in the world can we reasonably trust them not to misuse this kind of power?
The answer is obvious, friends. We cannot trust the Obama administration, the NSA, or any other government agency. Right now there is a culture of abuse and totalitarianism running rampant throughout our government. We must Rise Up and fight back. Now is the time. Before all of the tools we have to defend ourselves are taken from us.
Stand with the ACLU and the NRA — call your Representatives and demand that they fight to destroy the NSA spying program.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com