Gun Owners of America
Report to the American People Concerning
Government Agencies Viewing Gun Owners as Potential Terrorists
For the past decade, GOA has been tracking and exposing efforts across the country by the federal government and various state governments to cast suspicion on law-abiding gun owners.
These efforts often include claims that gun owners should be viewed with suspicion, as potential criminals, and even as potential terrorists. Such claims have been included in government reports issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), by state police agencies, and by other government entities. Now, these efforts are being ramped up by a new initiative, coming from one of the most lawless men to ever sit in a Presidential Cabinet — U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Because of this new development, we thought it timely to release this report to the American people, documenting governmental contempt for the Second Amendment, and the many instances where lawful gun owners are viewed as potential terrorists.
After studying several such reports, we have discerned a pattern, and attempt to identify the purpose of such government efforts. There is an old saying that “When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.” Government certainly has demonstrated no desire to be in fear of the people. Rather, government wants the people to live in fear. The current campaign attempts to demonize gun owners in the minds of the rest of the citizenry, so as to neutralize them from resisting tyranny. If the citizenry fears gun owners, it will be much easier for government to have grand juries indict gun owners, petit juries convict them, and voters elect anti-gun politicians. Ultimately, this tactic encourages the citizenry to stand by, and even assist the government, while lawful gun owners are disarmed — individually at first, and then en masse.
There appear to be significant indications that federal and state government agencies are laying the predicate to justify extra surveillance and monitoring of gun owners in order to chill Americans from exercising their right to keep and bear arms. Further, when crimes or acts of terrorism occur, known gun owners will likely become the first persons to be suspected.
Indeed, since 9-11, the federal government has created so-called “Fusion Centers” in cooperation with various state and local agencies across the country, purportedly to facilitate sharing of information and resources to prevent domestic terrorism.1 These Fusion Centers are tasked not with solving crime, but preventing crime. To accomplish this impossible task, the government has developed an insatiable desire for information about the citizens, to identify those who may someday do something bad to someone, and be proactive in preventing it. Of course, this type of thinking leads to the creation of first, a surveillance state, and second, a police state.
As discussed below, these Fusion Centers reportedly are much better at assembling information on lawful gun owners and other citizens than they are at fighting actual crime or terrorism. Even The Washington Post reported that, after almost a decade and $1.4 billion spent, “the 77 fusion centers have become pools of ineptitude, waste and civil liberties intrusions, according to a scathing 141-page report by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs permanent subcommittee on investigations.”2
Excerpts from several reports appear below, constituting only a fraction of such reports. We have focused here only on the reports that target gun owners and others who, like GOA and its members and supporters, believe in limited, constitutional government.
Fully a decade ago, in 2004, the Virginia State Police released a law enforcement presentation entitled “Terrorism: Awareness and Prevention.”3 After discussing various types of terrorist attacks, the report began to list types of terrorist groups. First was “Islamic Extremists,” such as Al-Qaeda and Hamas, but then the report began to discuss “Extremist Groups in the United States.” This is where it gets interesting. Among the “extremist” ideologies listed, sandwiched between the Aryan Nations and the Black Panthers, are:
* gun rights
* constitutional issues
* judicial system
* loss of sovereignty.
Well, it just so happens that we at Gun Owners are concerned about all of these issues! How suspicious it must seem to our “rulers” that there are American citizens who are interested in having them abide by the Constitution and respect our Second Amendment rights! Indeed, the report points to various suspect groups as ones to which the police should pay particular attention, such as:
* anti-government groups
* anti-abortion activists
The report goes so far as to label “civil disobedience” — the important word being “civil” — as “low key terrorism!” Under this standard, apparently Rosa Parks’ participation in the Montgomery Bus Boycott is viewed by the Virginia State Police to be terrorist in nature.
In February of 2009, a confidential report was leaked from the Missouri Information Analysis Center, a Fusion Center working with DHS. The report was entitled “The Modern Militia Movement,”4 and claimed to provide ways to spot dangerous militia members and domestic terrorists. The report stated that such persons “often subscribe to the ideology of other right-wing extremist movements such as:”
The report then claimed that “[m]ilitia members most commonly associate with 3rd party political groups,” and that law enforcement should be on the lookout for “suspicious” symbols such as the Gadsen Flag and “Molon Labe,” as well as materials such as bumper stickers supporting:
* The Constitutional [sic] Party
* Campaign for Liberty
* Ron Paul
* Chuck Baldwin
* Bob Barr.
By March of 2009, the report had been withdrawn, and letters of apology had been sent to Ron Paul, Bob Barr and Chuck Baldwin, stating that “some regrettable information was included in the report....” Of course Missouri thinks this situation was regrettable — regrettable that these activities were brought to light, that is.
Millions of law-abiding Americans — including many of GOA’s members and supporters — do not believe that the two-party system is working well, and have supported candidates of, or subscribe to the views of, third-party political parties advocating for less government interference in our lives. That political preference does not make our members and supporters domestic terrorists.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, 2009
In March of 2009, DHS released the single worst report we have seen — entitled “Rightwing Extremism.”5 The report acknowledged that the speech of alleged “rightwing extremists” has been “largely rhetorical and ha[s] not indicated plans to carry out violent acts,” and that “DHS ... has no specific information that domestic rightwing terrorists are currently planning acts of violence....”
However, the report went on to claim that “rightwing extremists” have “capitalized on the election of the first African American president” and the “economic recession.” What DHS really seems to be saying is that “groups like GOA have criticized President Obama, and blamed government policies for the recession.” Clearly, this must be “terrorism” at work.
Specifically, the report noted that these alleged “rightwing extremists” are concerned about “[t]he possible passage of new restrictions on firearms and the return of military veterans ... [with] combat skills and experience ... facing significant challenges reintegrating.” The report claims that “[p]roposed imposition of firearms restrictions and weapons bans likely would attract new members” — to organizations like GOA, of course. The report goes on to claim that “[t]he high volume of purchases and stockpiling of weapons and ammunition by rightwing extremists in anticipation of restrictions and bans in some parts of the country continue to be a primary concern to law enforcement.”
The report then attacks:
* “opposition to gun control efforts”
* “criticism of free trade agreements (particularly those with Mexico)”
* “perceived government infringement on civil liberties”
* Those who oppose “abortion,” “same-sex marriage,” “illegal immigrants,” and a “New World Order.”
Then the report attacks “preppers,” claiming that “[h]istorically, domestic rightwing extremists have feared, predicted, and anticipated a cataclysmic economic collapse in the United States. Prominent antigovernment conspiracy theorists have incorporated aspects of an impending economic collapse to intensify fear and paranoia among like-minded individuals and to attract recruits during times of economic uncertainty.” These alleged “rightwing extremists” “stockpile food, ammunition, and weapons.” Then the report claims that:
On the current front, legislation has been proposed this year requiring mandatory registration of all firearms in the United States. Similar legislation was introduced in 2008 in several states proposing mandatory tagging and registration of ammunition. It is unclear if either bill will be passed into law; nonetheless, a correlation may exist between the potential passage of gun control legislation and increased hoarding of ammunition, weapons stockpiling, and paramilitary training activities among rightwing extremists.
Open source reporting of wartime ammunition shortages has likely spurred rightwing extremists—as well as law-abiding Americans—to make bulk purchases of ammunition. These shortages have increased the cost of ammunition, further exacerbating rightwing extremist paranoia and leading to further stockpiling activity. [Emphasis added.]
Of course, each week comes a new report about another government agency engaged in a massive ammunition purchase. Even the Social Security Administration and U.S. Postal Service believe that they must stock up on massive amounts of ammunition, but it is potential terrorism if we do so.6
Virginia was back in 2009 with its own State Police “Fusion Center” report. As law enforcement officers in a state ranked the fifth most pro-gun state in the country, the Virginia State Police certainly do not live up to that ranking based on their anti-gun efforts. Entitled the “Virginia Terrorism Threat Assessment,” the document’s purported purpose was “to convey [sic] potential terrorism threats affecting the Commonwealth.”7
Although acknowledging that there is absolutely no evidence of present or future terrorism in Virginia, the State Police persists in crying wolf. On the radar screen this time are:
* “student groups” at “Historically Black Colleges and Universities” and at Regent University, a “private, evangelical Christian institution”
* “special interest groups,” such as “anti-abortion extremists.”
The report claimed that “potential lone wolf activity included ... attempts to possess weapons ... and paramilitary training activities.” Apparently any Virginian who goes to a gun store to buy a gun and/or takes a training course should be looking over his shoulder.
In December of 2010, the Tennessee Fusion Center published a map of “terrorism events and other suspicious activity.” Included on the list was the ACLU, because it had sent letters to various public schools urging that Christmas not be celebrated as a Christian holiday.8
Also on the list? An entry reading “McMinn County Teen Brings Gun to School.”9 (emphasis added.) Of course, the teenager did not shoot anyone, or threaten to do so. Apparently all he did was break a school rule and/or state law prohibiting firearms in school, an event which once was common in America. To us, that just doesn’t rise to the level of “terrorism,” unless the objective is to make all gun owners seem like crazed psychopaths who at any time may whip out their guns and start shooting.
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, 2011
In 2011, the FBI published a one-page flyer entitled “Potential Indicators of Terrorist Activities Related to Military Surplus Stores.”10 Under the column “What Should I Consider Suspicious?” was:
* Anyone who “demands identity ‘privacy’”
* “Insist[s] on paying with cash”
* “Make suspicious comments regarding ... radical theology.”
This is truly astounding, and laughably circular. These reports on the one hand accuse anyone who engages in many lawful activities of being suspicious, and label vast swaths of the American public as potential terrorists who need to be watched. Law-abiding Americans are considered suspicious, and must be watched, and if they try to keep a low profile, that makes them even more suspicious.
At the bottom of the list were people who “[m]ake bulk purchases of items” such as “ammunition,” “[h]igh capacity magazines,” and “[b]i-pods or tri-pods for rifles.” Of course, these are things that many in the government want to prohibit anyway, so naturally anyone who wishes to stock up in case of a future prohibition is a terrorist.
In January of 2013, the Ohio National Guard conducted a “training exercise” in Portsmouth, Ohio.11 The local news reported the scenario: “Two school employees who are disgruntled over the government’s interpretation of the Second Amendment, plot to use chemical, biological and radiological agents against members of the local community.” (emphasis added.)
Yes, you read that right, a couple of Americans suddenly decide to use weapons of mass destruction to kill children — not because they have mental health issues — but for no reason other than they are pro-gun!
In February of 2014, internal documents from the training exercise were leaked.12 The scenario stated that all of the teachers at the school had been accounted for except for one who is “part of anti gov’t. movement.” Also included in the documents was a copy of a CNN article about why gun owners “won’t talk gun control with Obama.” Apparently because gun owners have principles, they are considered extremists.
It is unclear why it was so important for the powers that be to give a reason why the simulated attack was carried out, since the stated purpose of the drill was simply to respond to the aftermath. Thus, tying gun owners to a fake attack was nothing more than a political effort to portray gun owners as radicals who supposedly will do anything — including kill children — to protect their rights.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, 2014
Most recently, it has come to light that the U.S. Department of Justice is “reviving a law enforcement group to investigate those it designates as domestic terrorists.”13 Dubbed the “Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee” (emphasis added), the group was created after the Oklahoma City Bombing, but “dissolved after the Sept. 11, 2001 ... attacks as law enforcement agencies focused on threats from militants abroad.” Now, 13 years later, the Justice Department plans to devote its resources to oppressing American gun owners and those who believe in limited government. Attorney General Eric Holder claimed that “[w]e must also concern ourselves with the continued danger we face from individuals within our own borders who may be motivated by a variety of other causes [such as] anti-government animus....”14
In summary, if you are the kind of person who takes a principled view on gun rights and limited government … has attempted to stock up on firearms, magazines, and ammunition in fear of possible and actual bans … or has ever voted for a third party in a political election … then know this — you had better look over your shoulder, because your government is watching you, and considers you to be a threat.
7) While it is likely that the Virginia State Police left out a couple words there, as it appears, the sentence is at least ironic — indicating that Virginia government wanted to convey a threat to its own citizens.
13) J. Edwards, “U.S. Reconstitutes Group to Fight Homegrown Extremists,” Reuters (June 3, 2014). http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/03/us-usa-security-homegrown- idUSKBN0EE1R420140603