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Secret Surveillance Operation: FBI Monitors Gun Sales on Social Media

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives put a Texas man under warrantless surveillance after he announced on Facebook that he was selling his own firearms (ATF). The FBI will keep an eye on the individual for at least six months after the ATF investigated him but found no proof.

The individual who used Facebook was put under FBI daily monitoring in 2021 for “suspected violations” of federal statutes against straw buying and unlicensed gun trading, according to ATF spokesman Erik Longnecker, who also confirmed this to The Epoch Times.

This information is a part of an ongoing, exclusive story concerning a secret ATF and FBI program that used the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to keep an eye out for “possible” criminal activity. The NICS database contains information on people who are unable to buy weapons because of criminal convictions, drug usage, domestic violence, and other factors.

Every suspect that the ATF reports to the FBI’s “NICS Monitoring Services” is placed on a daily, manual check for the sale of firearms for a period of 30 to 180 days, with the ability to renew surveillance at any time. According to an FBI spokeswoman, the NICS division would not comment on whether the man was still being watched.

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Facebook’s Gun Sales Policy: ATF Investigation Sparks Controversy

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives put a Texas man under warrantless surveillance after he announced on Facebook that he was selling his own firearms (ATF).


Uncertainty surrounds whether the Facebook posts served as the catalyst for the inquiry because the censored materials provided to GOA do not indicate how ATF first developed an interest in the suspect. The ATF representative declined to answer when asked if Facebook alerts the organization to posts mentioning guns.

Facebook’s policy permits authorized gun shops and online merchants to sell weapons and ammunition on their platform so long as they abide by all relevant laws and rules. Yet, the Meta-owned business forbids private persons from exchanging firearms and ammo. Simply because Facebook doesn’t permit it doesn’t make it illegal, Mr. Olson said.

Inquiries concerning how Facebook enforces its gun laws and if it gives posts about gun purchases to federal law enforcement were unanswered by Facebook.

The report of straw buying by the ATF officers from the McAllen Field Office appears to clear the individual. This phrase refers to purchasing firearms on behalf of someone else, typically a person who wouldn’t pass the NICS background check process.

The individual did, however, claim to “primarily sell firearms to his pals, but denied purchasing firearms expressly for his friends,” according to the agents. The suspect reportedly admitted to authorities that he exclusively buys handguns for himself and that he likes to “play about” with them by changing the springs or triggers, get bored, and then list the firearms for sale.

About the claim that he was doing business without a license, the suspect assured the investigators that his financial situation will depend on how he handled the firearms.

According to federal law, a person can only obtain an ATF license if they are actively involved in the business of dealing in weapons. According to the law, this is someone who “devotes time, attention, and effort” to trading in weapons with the primary goal of making a living. The Texan in this instance was fully employed, open about his activities, and even used a credit card to buy weaponry.

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Source: TheEpochTimes

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