ATF ordered FBI to monitor and track lawful citizens on NICS.

A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by Gun Owners of America has revealed that the ATF and FBI have colluded to warrantlessly monitor and track citizens who make lawful firearms purchases. The FBI labeled the collusion as “NICS Monitoring Services” and the FOIA release showed that “dozens” of ATF agents provided citizens’ names to the FBI and requested the FBI utilize the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to monitor daily sales and report back transactions to the ATF. The ATF conducted this ongoing operation by emailing the FBI a document called “ATF Investigations Information Form for Monitoring Firearms Purchasers in the NICS.” The citizens who were monitored were done so without a warrant and were never notified of the warrantless search. The ATF said they were being investigated for “potential violations of law” or laws not yet broken. The FOIA also showed that in some cases a citizen was tracked through the “NIC Monitoring Services” based solely on the citizens’ “behavior and appearance”.

The FBI provided a response to the FOIA “immediately” after GOA filed but the ATF delayed their response until January 9th when they released 14 files related to the “covert surveillance of individual American citizens, by monitoring their firearm purchases.”