The head of the Drug Enforcement Agency announced yesterday that the agency had abandoned plans to use surveillance cameras to photograph license plates appearing in the vicinity of gun shows.
DEA Administrator Michelle Leonhart said in a statement that the proposal memorialized in an employee’s email was only a suggestion, never authorized by her agency and never put into action. The AP also learned that the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives did not authorize or approve the license plate surveillance plan.
Are these the kinds of ideas we are paying tax dollars for? I’m glad this wasn’t “approved,” but someone obviously thought it was “on the table” for consideration.
Automated license plate scanners take pictures of every vehicle that passes their field of view and record the information in a database that can be used to track a vehicle’s movements over time.
Why would the government even think it should “keep track” of law-abiding citizens participating in a purely legal social activity?
Cameras are everywhere now, on police cruisers, utility polls, traffic lights and mounted in front of private businesses. Does the government have the right to catalog and monitor innocent comings and goings? The AP writes, “The scanners have raised significant privacy concerns even though they generally only record cars and trucks driving on public roads. There are no consistent, national rules that govern how police can use the information, how long it can be saved and how widely the records can be shared with other police agencies.”
And therein lies the problem. We have a government full of bureaucrats who see no problem throwing ideas around like “let’s catalog and monitor people who attend gun shows,” which is a sly run-around to the national gun registry the leftists and gun grabbers are always agitating to create. Coupled with very suspicious and punitive behavior by the IRS to target “tea party types,” the last thing we should allow is the government to amass information on an “undesirable” class of citizens.