About one month ago, the manager of a store that sells guns in southwest North Dakota told me that he had gone into his store’s paper work files of gun buyers, looked at the personal information provided by a gun buyer on their NICS form, and performed an internet search of this person on social media.
The reason why this store manager told me this, was because he did not know that this was very illegal, and strictly prohibited conduct of a licensed FFL gun dealer. Below is the Federal Government Form that FFL gun dealers and their employees must sign:
Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) Officer/Employee
Acknowledgment of Responsibilities
National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)
Being an officer or employee of the following named Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL):
Name of FFL ___________________________FFL Number______________
Business/Trade Name (if different from FFL name)_____________________
FFL Address City___________________ State__________ Zip____________
I, the undersigned, hereby acknowledge that I have read and understand my obligations and responsibilities under the NICS as an FFL officer or employee, as detailed in the FBI outline: Responsibilities of an FFL under the NICS. In consideration of being permitted access to NICS related information as part of my employment, I accept and agree to comply with these obligations and responsibilities. I further acknowledge my legal obligation to the NICS, my employing FFL, and affected firearms transferees to safeguard all NICS-related information to which I may be exposed and to protect it from unauthorized use or disclosure. I also acknowledge that all communications with the NICS Section, including telephone or electronic, are subject to monitoring and/or recording by the FBI or its representatives, and that my participation in any communications with the NICS Section constitutes my consent to such monitoring and recording. Officer/employee signature __________________ Officer/employee name __________________ Date signed __________________ Witnessed on behalf of the FFL by: Witness signature __________________ Witness name __________________ Witness title/position in FFL __________________ COMPLETED COPIES OF APPENDIX A TO BE RETAINED BY FFL DUPLICATE LOCALLY AS REQUIRED
If you wish, you can look up this FFL Form and other information using this link: https://ucr.fbi.gov/nics/federal-firearms-licensees/ffl-acknowledgment-of-responsibilities-under-nics
For those of you who do not purchase or own firearms, what I am writing probably does not matter to you. For those of you who do purchase and own firearms, many of you are probably leery of providing a record of your firearm purchase to the Federal Government, because it could eventually lead to more Federal Government regulation, rules, and laws concerning this firearm.
Many people who purchase and own firearms believe that the original and complete wording of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, where it says, “A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”, that this means that there should not be any interference, obstruction, blocking, delays of people lawfully obtaining firearms, but the NICS process is interference, obstruction, blocking, and delays.
If people want to purchase a firearm from an FFL gun store, they are required to fill out the NICS paperwork, which includes Full Name, Date of Birth, Social Security Number, Drivers License Number, Current Home Address, Phone Number, and I believe Place Of Birth. This personal information is usually transmitted to the NICS center via a telephone call from the FFL gun store employee while the gun buyer is present.
The purpose of the NICS process, was to quickly determine if the gun buyer is legally prohibited from purchasing a firearm. The most common reason for a person to be legally prohibited from owning a firearm is previous conviction of a felony.
From the Federal Government Form for FFL gun stores that I included a copy of above, it states that the FFL gun store employees must read and sign that: “I further acknowledge my legal obligation to the NICS, my employing FFL, and affected firearms transferees to safeguard all NICS-related information to which I may be exposed and to protect it from unauthorized use or disclosure.”
The manager of this FFL gun store in southwest North Dakota, telling me that he went into the file of a gun buyer, after their NICS had been called in, after they had left the store, to collect their full name, date of birth, and current address to go look them up on social media to satisfy their personal curiosity, is exactly the Unauthorized Use that is never supposed to happen.
To put this another way, what if you went to a hospital for medical treatment, and you supplied your name, date of birth, social security number, current address, and other personal information as required. Hospital staff who receive this personal information are not supposed to go look the patient up on Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn, Realtor.com, to find out where they work, who they are in a relationship with, how much money they make, what kind of house they live in, to satisfy their own personal curiosity. The same principle would apply to people who work at a Bank who have access to your personal information.
I notified the two owners of this FFL gun store by e-mail, including a copy of the Federal
Government Form for FFL gun stores that prohibits unauthorized use of the NICS personal information provided by gun buyers, but they did not respond.
Because I received no response from the owners of this southwest North Dakota gun store, the following day I called the ATF in Fargo that handles the licensing and regulation of firearms dealers in North Dakota.
To me, this is just another example of ignorance and corruption in North Dakota. The manager of this gun store, not only did he not know that it is illegal to use gun buyers’ personal information for his own entertainment, enjoyment, and curiosity, he doesn’t see this as unethical or inappropriate. Neither do the two owners of this gun store.