According to a newly disclosed e-mail, the DEA and ATF collaborated on plans to monitor gun show attendees with automatic license plate readers.
The e-mail was released by the ACLU through the Freedom of Information Act.
The email, which is from April 2006 states the “DEA Phoenix Division Office is working closely with ATF on attacking the guns going to [redacted] and the gun shows, to include programs/operation with LPRs at the gun shows.”
According to the ACLU, “The government redacted the rest of the email, but when we received this document we concluded that these agencies used license plate readers to collect information about law-abiding citizens attending gun shows. An automatic license plate reader cannot distinguish between people transporting illegal guns and those transporting legal guns, or no guns at all; it only documents the presence of any car driving to the event. Mere attendance at a gun show, it appeared, would have been enough to have one’s presence noted in a DEA database.”
The ACLU asked the DEA about this project, and they claim it was never implemented. “We were certainly glad to hear them say this, as we had rationally, based on the scrap of information left unredacted in the document, concluded that gun show monitoring was underway,” explained the ACLU in a blog post.
This isn’t the first time the government’s license plate collection plans were revealed by the ACLU.
According to heavily redacted documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, the DEA has gathered as many as 343 million records in the National License Plate Recognition program, reported Derrick Broze for BenSwann.com.