Biden Administration wants banks to turn over account info over to the IRS
The Biden Administration’s latest IRS proposal for the fiscal year of 2022 could potentially generate $463B in new funding and revenue over the next decade. We won’t pretend to be economists but here’s what’s most concerning to us: Under the proposal banks would be required to report all business and personal transactions above $600. We’ve actually been sitting on this story for about a week and a half waiting for it to develop more and to see what larger news organizations would uncover and it would appear that our concerns were not unfounded. If left unchecked, the Biden Administration would have us all say ‘goodbye’ to financial privacy and ‘hello’ to a new, draconian financial account information reporting regime.
Why is this important for gun owners to be aware of? Well just think about how much the average handgun costs — just about every respectable handgun transaction is going to cost $600 or even more if you include extra purchases of magazines, ammunition or other parts and accessories. Let’s say you live in a state like Texas where it’s legal to make private party transactions for firearms in a Whataburger parking lot, well if that withdrawal of cash from the ATM you made that morning was an amount above 600 dollars then that would also be subject for reporting to the IRS.
Hawaii comes up with a new justification for taking citizens’ guns
It’s kind of a long story made short but the context here is important. In December 2020, Hawaii resident Lance Choda was arrested for disorderly conduct for essentially getting into a shouting match with his neighbor. Things got heated, but there was no escalated violence or physical contact between Choda and his neighbor. Choda pled no contest in court and was found guilty of harassment and disorderly content. Fast forward to this year, Choda applied for a permit to buy a new firearm. This resulted in a ridiculous response from his county government.
On August 11, 2021, Choda received a letter that the local police department had denied his request for a new permit to acquire firearms and that he had until September 15th, 2021 to dispose of all firearms and ammunition within his possession. Failure to comply would result in seizure of all said guns and ammo; Choda would also face criminal prosecution under Hawaii state law (Chapter 134 of Hawaii Revised Statutes). It would appear that Choda’s county is using his past record as being the same as having been convicted for a “crime of violence” which typically barrs people from buying anymore firearms or owning them.
This measure may have been designed to protect women and children from violent domestic abusers, but the local government seems to be keen on intentionally misinterpreting the law so that they can take away Choda’s 2nd Amendment rights. Which, if you know anything about Hawaiian island culture, is ridiculous because some people tend to be more boisterous there but it doesn’t amount to framing Choda as a violent criminal. We’ll keep monitoring Choda’s case as his lawyers continue to fight to delay the state from taking away his guns but the main takeaway from this story is that if it happened to him it could happen to you too.
California law enforcement monitors residents’ social media
This issue of law enforcement in Southern California monitoring citizens through social media is two-fold: 1. In 2020, the Brennan Center for Justice submitted a FOIA request for the LAPD’s records relating to their social media monitoring activities. What we’ve learned from the result of that FOIA request is that the LAPD has 40 employees dedicated to analyzing social media accounts, individuals and groups alike and to collect additional online information about them and their activities. An analysis of this report revealed a practice of police data-gathering of many people who have not had any criminal records(yet).
2. One of the methods the LAPD goes about gathering civilian targets to monitor is by using what’s called a “field interview report form.” In 2015, the LAPD’s Police Chief amended the FI to also include gathering an individual’s email address and social media account(s). Part of the FOIA information release to the Brennan Center also shows that the LAPD has considered in the past, or may potentially be using currently, to use third party vendors such as Media Sonar which is a company that offers services such as building a digital snapshot of a person’s complete online presence including all related persons and activities.
We may not have any precogs or oracles, but it would appear we’ve been getting closer and closer to a Minority Report world where crimes are trying to be “prevented” when they may not even occur in the first place. Our concern is for these practices to further the use of 'red flag laws' where law abiding citizens would be wrongfully lose their rights and be stripped of due process while being caught in an unfair legal system. These documents from the Brennan Center were not easy to come by. The LAPD did not initially comply with the FOIA request and only provided supplemental documents after being sued for failure to produce responsive documents. To see the LAPD Social Media Monitoring Documents click here.
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