A gun rights group is calling on the FBI and Justice Department (DOJ) to “remove” database records on Americans who secretly signed “illegal” forms waiving away their firearms rights, according to a letter.
The FBI between 2016 and 2019 secretly pressured at least 15 people into signing forms that relinquish their rights to own, buy or use firearms, the Daily Caller News Foundation first reported Tuesday. Now, the bureau and DOJ should clear the FBI’s database of the “unconstitutional” forms and “halt” any possible continued usage of them, Gun Owners of America (GOA) wrote Thursday to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Merrick Garland in a letter obtained by the DCNF. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: The FBI Secretly Pressured Americans To Waive Away Their Gun Rights)
“Past, present, or future use of this form conflicts with the statute that Congress enacted and represents a clear infringement of Second Amendment rights that ‘shall not be infringed,'” GOA, which unearthed the forms and related records through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit initiated in January 2020, said in its letter. “Corrective action on your part is thus required and, indeed, is mandated by federal law.”
FBI agents in Massachusetts, Michigan and Maine presented the forms to Americans at their homes and in other undisclosed locations, according to FBI records obtained by the DCNF. The forms ask signatories to declare themselves as either a “danger” to themselves or others or lacking “mental capacity adequately to contract or manage” their lives.
The forms also say signatories will be permanently registered with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). It is unclear how the FBI located signatories but many are people who allegedly made violent threats online, in person and on social media platforms, records show.
The existence of the gun form was first revealed in December 2019 by the firearms blog Ammoland but the DCNF was first to report on proof of the document being used. A spokesperson for the FBI previously told the DCNF the form was “discontinued” in December 2019. (‘A Certain Irony’: Rand Paul Rips FBI After Bombshell DCNF Report)
GOA as well as attorneys who specialize in Second Amendment law told the DCNF Tuesday the forms leave serious legal questions. It is notably unclear how the form bodes with the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA), which holds people may be prohibited from possessing firearms if they are “adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to a mental institution.”
“A person who signs an FBI form voluntarily has neither been ‘adjudicated’ anything nor ‘committed’ anywhere,” GOA’s letter says. “Indeed, if such persons had met the Congressional test for ‘prohibited persons’ under any other federal prohibitor, there would have been no need to coerce them into signing the form.”
“More fundamentally, however, a person does not lose his Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms simply because he signed a government form purporting to relinquish them,” said GOA in its letter.
GOA is calling on the FBI and DOJ to take “corrective actions” within 30 days.
The FBI and DOJ did not respond to the DCNF’s requests for comment on the letter.
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