The Federal Bureau of Investigation has a long history of doing some really shady stuff. In a nation where rights are supposed to matter, the FBI has often acted like they don’t.
But that’s in the past, right? Right?
In September, it was reported that the FBI pressured several people to sign forms giving up their Second Amendment rights. If there was an upside to such a thing, it lay in the fact that it looked like it only happened in a small handful of cases. Except, as the Washington Examiner reported on Thursday, it may have been more extensive than originally believed.
“The FBI has secretly stripped eight more people of their rights to own, use, or purchase firearms, according to internal FBI documents obtained by the Washington Examiner.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and over a dozen GOP members of Congress in October demanded that the FBI and Justice Department hand over proof that the FBI is no longer waiving people’s gun rights with internal forms, which the Daily Caller uncovered in September had been signed by 15 people. Now, the Washington Examiner has obtained eight heavily redacted signed forms — indicating a more widespread bureau effort than previously known to target the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.”
The question now becomes how many people in total were pressured to sign these forms in the first place.
Well, that’s one of the questions. Perhaps a more important question regards the legality of these forms in the first place.
Within US law, there are a handful of ways someone can be stripped of their Second Amendment rights and only one that involves something other than a criminal conviction. In that case, someone can be adjudicated by a court as “mentally defective,” an archaic term for someone not competent enough to be trusted with gun rights.
The implication with these individuals seems to be that the FBI doesn’t think they can be trusted. Yet as one lawmaker noted, that’s not something they can lawfully do.
“Americans can’t simply sign their constitutional rights away, even to the FBI,” Rep. Michael Cloud of Texas told the Examiner. He also promised that the incoming Republican House majority would investigate this.
However, Cloud is absolutely correct. Americans can’t sign their rights away. They’re free to not exercise them, but they remain should they change their mind.
Further, there’s a strong implication that the FBI doesn’t just ask folks politely.
It’s alleged that these people made violent threats in online chat rooms. Now, threats aren’t generally considered protected speech. Had the FBI prosecuted these individuals for making terroristic threats, there would be little to no outrage.
The problem is that they aren’t prosecuting anyone. It’s likely these forms are signed not voluntarily, but through a certain degree of intimidation, even if somehow unintentional. I mean, if the FBI shows up at your house saying you committed a crime, but please sign this form and everything goes away, how many people wouldn’t sign?
Yet the problem is that there’s no legal mechanism for this. The FBI has basically taken it upon themselves to cook up a form, at least as best as anyone can tell, and pressure people to sign it.
Look, if these people are that big of a threat, then prosecute them, convict them, and imprison them in accordance with federal law. If not, then they don’t deserve to be intimidated into signing away their rights.
And the fact that we’re learning of more who have been pushed to do so just makes me wonder how many more poor souls were stripped of their Second Amendment rights by the FBI.