Both organizations believe that the National Security Agency is secretly building a gun registry, and are suing to stop it.
The National Rifle Association joined the American Civil Liberties Union’s lawsuit on Wednesday to end the government’s massive phone record collection program.
In a brief filed in federal court, the NRA argues that the National Security Agency’s database of phone records amounts to a “national gun registry.”
The NSA argues that Congress authorized the phone data surveillance with Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which allows for the collection of business records “relevant” to terrorism.
In its filing, the gun-rights group claims that the NSA’s database would allow the government to identify and track gun owners based on whether they’ve called gun stores, shooting ranges or the NRA.
“Under the government’s reading of Section 215, the government could simply demand the periodic submission of all firearms dealers’ transaction records, then centralize them in a database indexed by the buyers’ names for later searching,” the NRA writes.
The group claims that Congress could never have meant to authorize such a vast surveillance operation because it has repeatedly rejected proposals to create a national gun registry.