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Old April 24, 2019, 02:02 PM   #1
rickyrick
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Washington: NRA Backs Lawsuit to Prevent Public Database of Gun Owners

https://www.nraila.org/articles/2019...-of-gun-owners

Quote:
On April 23rd, NRA backed the filing of a lawsuit to prevent the public disclosure of the names and addresses of gun owners who voluntarily surrendered their bump-fire stocks for compensation in the program administered by the Washington State Patrol.
Recently, an anti-gun activist filed a public records request in order to build a searchable database of those who previously owned these firearm accessories and surrendered them in good faith. NRA will soon file a request for a temporary restraining order against any release of this information.

The request;
“This is a public records request.
I seek to inspect any and all completed WSP bump stock buy back forms.
I seek to obtain the names and addresses where checks will be mailed for the bump stock buy back program.
My intent is to create a searchable database and map of Washington state to overlay the locations.
The public has a right to know that these dangerous devices may have been in neighborhoods that they live in and who has previously owned such devices.”


Moving back to Texas is looking more and more appealing every day.

Last edited by rickyrick; April 24, 2019 at 05:15 PM.
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Old April 24, 2019, 05:24 PM   #2
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The public has a right to know that these dangerous devices may have been in neighborhoods that they live in and who has previously owned such devices.
I find this not just wrong but kind of offensive on a number of levels. There is, however a bit of a conundrum.

I believe that our right to inspect government records is important. BUT....

I think this fellow has a hyper-expanded unrealistic idea of what the public has a right to know.

It seem laughable in the surface of it, what he's asking for is the names & addresses of the people who NO LONGER HAVE "these dangerous devices".

What possible purpose could that serve???

how about a list of people who own/owned the semi auto guns those stocks fit on?? Odds are, they still have them.

Here's my question for our resident legal eagles, if he files a valid Freedom of information request, can it be denied, if so on what grounds? Can his request be partially granted, so he's given the information he wants, can he legally be prohibited from using it, to make the database he wants? or for any other purpose? Can he make his data base but be legally prohibited from publishing it? Or could he make a map with dots for all the "former dangerous device owners" if he leaves off their names / addreses??

I don't like the "smell" of this, at all...
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Old April 24, 2019, 05:47 PM   #3
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I heard through second hand conversations that many of the stocks surrendered were very cheap versions bought just weeks before the buy-back in order to make a quick profit from the buy-back. The pictures that I saw showed most of them still in the package. I saw a local news segment where they interviewed a guy that was turning some in and that person stated that he had indeed purchased them just before the surrender date.
How does anyone know that the surenderers even own a gun?

I do see this as an attempt to dox assault weapon owners.
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Old April 24, 2019, 09:59 PM   #4
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Years back Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan tried to release the Illinois FOID database to the public so that it would be known where firearms owners lived in Illinois for "public safety reasons". There was one heck of an uproar and it never happened but I don't know on what legal grounds it was denied. Obviously thieves would love to know where firearms owners lived.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/illin...-list_n_830244

In this case the motive may also be to expose where some gun owners live for some sort of intimidation motive. I really hope it is not allowed and if it is it will further deter people from complying with such nonsense in the future.
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Old April 24, 2019, 10:27 PM   #5
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Never having any, or any interest in bump fire stocks, I didn't even know there was a buy back program, or an actual ban date. While I am not happy with the govt use my tax money for that, at least someone got something out of the govt stealing their property via legal means.

I do note that the information being sought, is the names and addresses of the people who COMPLIED WITH THE LAW. (or complied with surrender before the law required it).

So, comply with the law, get put on a list, and that list to be published in public, if that fellow wins his case...hmmmm

DISOBEY the law, and if not caught, you're never on that list. Get caught, and you'll be on a different list, possibly the list of convicted felons.

Doesn't seem like either choice is the best one...
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Old April 24, 2019, 11:02 PM   #6
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Release of the information would also provide a pretty good tool for thieves to target likely firearms owners. How does that help make the community safer?
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Old April 24, 2019, 11:37 PM   #7
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I'm quite certain that public safety is not the true intent. The intent is almost certainly to dox gun owners so the "woke' social justice warriors (a.k.a. SJWs) can harass them.
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Old April 25, 2019, 03:53 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 44AMP
I find this not just wrong but kind of offensive on a number of levels. There is, however a bit of a conundrum.

I believe that our right to inspect government records is important. BUT....
In my state, concealed carry permits previously were public documents subject to disclosure and publication. Naturally, someone at the Plain Dealer, Cleveland's leading English language daily, thought it would be very clever to demand the names and addresses of everyone who received a carry permit. Consequently, the General Assembly changed that part of the law in later amendments.

Transparency in government is an important value, but the names and addresses of private individuals who comply with a law isn't a government record in the pertinent sense.
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Old April 25, 2019, 05:52 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca View Post
I'm quite certain that public safety is not the true intent. The intent is almost certainly to dox gun owners so the "woke' social justice warriors (a.k.a. SJWs) can harass them.
I don't think there's much doubt about that.
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Old April 25, 2019, 05:58 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by 44 AMP View Post
. . . .Here's my question for our resident legal eagles, if he files a valid Freedom of information request, can it be denied, if so on what grounds? Can his request be partially granted, so he's given the information he wants, can he legally be prohibited from using it, to make the database he wants? or for any other purpose? Can he make his data base but be legally prohibited from publishing it? Or could he make a map with dots for all the "former dangerous device owners" if he leaves off their names / addreses??

I don't like the "smell" of this, at all...
I don't like the smell of it, either. As you know, the answer to your questions relies in large part on the particular FOIA in question. Arkansas has one of the broadest FOIAs in the country, so there's a whole lot of "sigh, just give it to him" among elected officials and government lawyers. Obviously, the request *can* be denied; it's just a question of whether the agency at issue really wants to litigate it. For the most part, once he gets the information, he can do whatever he wants with it unless and until someone sues him to stop it. And by then, the cat's out of the bag.
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Old April 25, 2019, 12:57 PM   #11
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Might we make a national security issue? After all, I'm sure terrorists would want to know who might own a semi auto formerly fitted with a bump fire stock, and where they live! (intentional sarcasm)

Yes, I know the devil is in the details of the specific laws and agencies involved, but to me this just stinks.

Can I get a list, and publish it, of where all the journalists live? Doesn't the public have a right to know? The Pen is mightier than the sword, right? So Journalists are more dangerous than gun owners!! right??

Oh, better include all the retired "former" journalists, too...

or better yet, perhaps just take a simpler route, lets just publish the names and addresses of everyone with a keyboard/phone and internet access???

this thing simply affronts my common sense.
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Old April 25, 2019, 01:25 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by 44_AMP
Can I get a list, and publish it, of where all the journalists live? Doesn't the public have a right to know? The Pen is mightier than the sword, right? So Journalists are more dangerous than gun owners!! right??
FOIA laws apply only to government entities. I'm not aware of any government entity that maintains a database of journalists' names, home addresses, and home telephone numbers. More interesting, perhaps, would be the database of politicians. Not just the ones who won the elections and who are in office, but also the candidates who may be running for office. There certainly should be official records of those names, home addresses, and home telephone numbers.
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Old April 25, 2019, 08:56 PM   #13
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I don't know about the phone #s, but I'm sure the IRS has all the tax paying journalist's names and addresses. Doubt it is organized by profession, though..

Perhaps also the Census? Though not a really "current" thing, being done only every 10 years...

Here's a question, I know tax records are special cases, but what if you ask (file for?) just names, addresses and profession and DON'T ask for any of the (monetary) tax data???
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Old April 25, 2019, 09:50 PM   #14
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All the gun owners in Texas have been published on a map:



But in all seriousness, 'DOXX-ing', the publishing of home addresses and other contact information of a person or group of persons, has been decided in many but not all states to be a crime.
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Old April 26, 2019, 08:35 AM   #15
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The person who requested the information for purposes of building a database claims their name is Yati Arguna, which appears to be a pseudonym. Of course, that's not a double standard at all.
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Old April 26, 2019, 11:40 AM   #16
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Quote:
“This is a public records request.
I seek to inspect any and all completed WSP bump stock buy back forms.
I seek to obtain the names and addresses where checks will be mailed for the bump stock buy back program.
My intent is to create a searchable database and map of Washington state to overlay the locations.
The public has a right to know that these dangerous devices may have been in neighborhoods that they live in and who has previously owned such devices.”
I don't see a compelling public right to know who owned a device that was legal when they got it and when ordered to complied with the law by turning it in. This is especially true now that the "dangerous devices" are no longer there.

Lists are for people who break the law.
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Old April 26, 2019, 01:41 PM   #17
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The person who requested the information for purposes of building a database claims their name is Yati Arguna, which appears to be a pseudonym. Of course, that's not a double standard at all.
Well, there you go! With a name like that, they have GOT to be a terrorist!! No double standard here, at all!!

(yes, deliberate sarcasm)


Quote:
Lists are for people who break the law.
Like the "no fly" list??
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Old April 27, 2019, 11:54 AM   #18
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Years back Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan tried to release the Illinois FOID database to the public so that it would be known where firearms owners lived in Illinois for "public safety reasons". There was one heck of an uproar and it never happened but I don't know on what legal grounds it was denied. Obviously thieves would love to know where firearms owners lived.
There was a time, a few years ago, you could type an Illinois zip code into a data base and it would return the number of FOID card holders that live in that zip code. It didn't give the name or address of the FOID holder, just the total number. I found it somewhat amusing. I live in a zip code that has less than one square mile, and a total of 22 buildings in it, including two businesses. That's around 50 people. There are 6 FOID card holders in those 22 buildings including myself. If those 5 other FOID card holders are anything like me, this zip code has enough guns to arm each resident with 4 to 5 guns, and the ammo for these guns. Think of that, an entire zip code where each and every person has 5 guns and plenty of ammo. This would be a nightmare for anyone with criminal intent.
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Old April 27, 2019, 12:09 PM   #19
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why not a list of registered voters showing when and where they voted? not asking for who they voted for mind you, just the government record......
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Old April 27, 2019, 06:26 PM   #20
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Here's my question for our resident legal eagles, if he files a valid Freedom of information request, can it be denied, if so on what grounds? Can his request be partially granted, so he's given the information he wants, can he legally be prohibited from using it, to make the database he wants? or for any other purpose? Can he make his data base but be legally prohibited from publishing it? Or could he make a map with dots for all the "former dangerous device owners" if he leaves off their names / addreses??
FOIA only affects requests for information held by the federal government. This is information held by the state of Washington so their laws will apply. FOIA law and the state equivalents are basically a black art in law. The subject is rarely taught in law schools. To the extent it is taught anywhere, it is by the agencies interpreting the law who decide what they will tell the public about how they interpret the law.

The only real way to get experience is to go work for the bureaucratic agency that decides those rules. And there are many disincentives to do that.

On the one hand, we want our government to be transparent with us. On the other, our governments at all levels hoover up vast amounts of personal information. If you are the guy who tipped off the Feds that El Chapo was living next door, you really don’t want that to be subject to FOIA - and neither do the Feds as that cuts down on cooperation.

There are actually TWO Washington state requests on bump stocks. The first one is from a pseudonym who wants to use the info to expose gun owners. The second is from a pro-2A litigant who doesn’t believe the first person actually exists and wants to expose what he believes to be a scam. Both requests will reveal a lot of private data if granted; but the second one has the potential to reveal more. Sadly, unless that guy hired a pro, he’s unlikely to ever realize what he doesn’t know.
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Old April 28, 2019, 06:55 AM   #21
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FOIA only affects requests for information held by the federal government. . . . .
That's not correct. I've underlined the error. Many (if not all) states have their own FOIAs.
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Old April 28, 2019, 08:19 AM   #22
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FOIA law and the state equivalents are basically a black art in law.
That was my experience when I queried the ATF for information on a particular FFL. They "lost" my request once, and they dragged the second one out for four years.
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Old May 19, 2019, 10:40 AM   #23
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why not a list of registered voters showing when and where they voted?
http://www.ncsl.org/research/electio...aspx#Table%201
Ask and ye shall...



But - yes, a lot of voter registration information is available to just about anyone that wants it & for just about any reason whatsoever - even when & where they voted in some cases.
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Old May 19, 2019, 03:58 PM   #24
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I just hope we all remember that the NRA is backing (funding?) this lawsuit when next we start complaining about the NRA.
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Old May 19, 2019, 04:13 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Spats McGee
That's not correct. I've underlined the error. Many (if not all) states have their own FOIAs.
The law granting access to federal records held by the national government is called the Freedom of Information Act. While some states may also name their state equivalent laws “FOIA”, the state laws, while similar, are different from the federal laws (I’m not familiar with the laws of all 50 states, so I may be wrong here).

In this case, the information is possessed by the state of Washington and the state law of Washington will apply. That’s generally what I was trying to convey.
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