NRA compiled secret gun registry on “tens of millions” of gun owners

The National Rifle Association has allegedly compiled a secret gun registry -type database on tens of millions of American gun owners, without their knowledge or consent, according to a damning new report over at Buzzfeed.

Boy, no one could have predicted that.

Except me.

Here’s what I wrote back in January of this year:

There already is a national gun registry. It’s called the NRA membership list.

If the NRA and its paranoid membership are so worried about the government creating a national gun registry, lest the government use that list to confiscate guns, they should stop worrying: The best list in the country already exists. It’s called the NRA membership.

Sure, the NRA membership list doesn’t contain a gun registry of “all” firearms owners in America. But it does contain a list of many of the most paranoid, crazy, militant gun owners. The very people a “fascist” government would be most concerned about.

As I noted at the time, the list that Second Amendment advocates fear, it already exists.  And now it’s confirmed.

A former NRA lobbyist tells Buzzfeed that the NRA has collected data on “tens of millions” of gun owners in a database unknown to those members, and without their permission.

walmart sellling guns

More from Buzzfeed:

[T]he sort of vast, secret database the NRA often warns of already exists, despite having been assembled largely without the knowledge or consent of gun owners. It is housed in the Virginia offices of the NRA itself. The country’s largest privately held database of current, former, and prospective gun owners is one of the powerful lobby’s secret weapons, expanding its influence well beyond its estimated 3 million members and bolstering its political supremacy.

That database has been built through years of acquiring gun permit registration lists from state and county offices, gathering names of new owners from the thousands of gun-safety classes taught by NRA-certified instructors and by buying lists of attendees of gun shows, subscribers to gun magazines and more, BuzzFeed has learned.

Now, why does this all matter?

Because if gun owners are going to be so paranoid as to fear every small piece of gun legislation that President Obama and gun control advocates propose, because they believe that our government is so evil that it’s capable of anything, including rounding up people with guns, Nazi Germany style, then what’s stopping the National Security Agency from simply hacking the NRA and grabbing a copy of its de facto gun registry?

(What’s stopping Anonymous, for that matter?)

If I were an evil jack-booted government thug, hell-bent on putting every gun owner in a concentration camp, that’s what I’d do. I wouldn’t waste any time trying to create my own gun registry, I’d simply steal the NRA’s.

Mind you, I am not such a jack-booted thug.  But if I were, hacking the NRA would be the least of my crimes.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but if you really believe that President Obama is Hitler, as so many Second Amendment advocates claim, then why would Hitler be capable of genocide but not a simple hacking?

Dirty little secret: He would.

Tea Party compared President Obama to Adolf Hitler in an email fundraiser.

Tea Party compared President Obama to Adolf Hitler in an email fundraiser.

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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54 Responses to “NRA compiled secret gun registry on “tens of millions” of gun owners”

  1. Manuel Rodriguez says:

    If the NRA refuses to give their gun owner list to the NSA, I’m sure the
    agency can get it from a more pliable source like Google or Facebook.

  2. hefetone says:

    Wonder if they have the names of the dirtbags that killed the Australian guy in Oklahoma.

  3. tbhull says:

    It was just a point of consideration I raised to the hypothetical posed.
    Some will follow orders and others will not. The point is it is never
    neat and all real possibilities must be considered when such a hypothetical is raised. Btw you should try to exercise some reasonable constraint when your uncontrollable desire to compartmentalize folks into the “you
    people” and right wing into categories you seem to cannot live without kicks in, as
    things are not always that neat and simple either

  4. tbhull says:

    It was just a point of consideration I raised to the hypothetical posed. Some will follow orders and others will not. The point is it is never neat and all real possibilities must be considered. Btw be careful when your uncontrollable desire to compartmentalize folks into the “you people” and right wing categories you seem to cannot live without as things are not always that neat and simple either.

  5. Monoceros Forth says:

    Ah, and here we see the imaginary resolution of a pervasive difficulty with the right-wing mindset. It is an article of right-wing faith that unrestricted and unregulated gun ownership is the only way to protect us against inevitable government tyranny. It is also an article of right-wing faith that the only purpose of government, the only thing and I mean the only thing that justifies federal taxation, is to hurl barrowfuls of cash at our armed forces, and to question the allocation of this cash is to be unpatriotic. But there’s a conflict between these two articles of faith: isn’t it the army, which the right wing demands to be funded at the expense of all else, going to be the same instrument of tyranny that universal gun ownership is purported to prevent?

    The resolution is apparently quite simple: the armed forces will when the time comes rise up against the government oppressors. Yes, supposedly they’re bound by loyalty to the regime in power, but when the government is “out of control” they’ll side with the people and liberate us from tyranny. It’s a neat solution to the conundrum, don’t you think? Just assume without evidence that the instrument of your oppression will magically turn into the instrument of your liberation when the time comes.

  6. nicho says:

    Possibility, but at least initially, low probability. They will go after demonized groups first — liberals, gays, immigrants. The military leadership is expert at dehumanizing people they want the troops to attack.

  7. tbhull says:

    While not opining on your assertions, I do point out one glaring error in your analysis. You incorrectly presuppose the military will not turn on an out of control government telling them to shoot their own people. It would not be surprising to see large portions of the military turning the government”s hardware/software/equipment on the government itself splitting the skulls of appartchuks/automattons that blindly follow orders.

  8. tbhull says:

    The very organization the gun folks fund to protect their 2nd amendment rights rights for an from what they view as an overreaching/oppressive federal government could very well be the source that allows the same federal government to know where all the guns are is rich with irony.

  9. zorbear says:

    But it does in all the movies!

  10. ArthurH says:

    If the NRA refuses to give their gun owner list to the NSA, I’m sure the agency can get it from a more pliable source like Google or Facebook.

  11. ArthurH says:

    Somehow I can’t get it out of my head. Wayne LaPierre and the other NRA officers in Gilbert & Sullivan costumes engaging in a spirited signing of “I’ve Got a Little List.”

  12. ArthurH says:

    The way the NRA has behaved in the past decade, you’d think they were for Claw and Disorder. No wonder the folks at the National Restaurant Association identify themselves as “the Good NRA.”

  13. Indigo says:

    That’s okay. We fight heroically and then they write a ballad about us.

  14. Indigo says:

    What took so long?

  15. Indigo says:

    Can it make soap bubbles?

  16. tbhull says:

    If the NSA has compiled a list then it is almost certain that the feds have this list as surely the NSA has scooped it up.

  17. TheOriginalLiz says:

    I suspect they’ve already got mine, with a big ol’ exclamation mark and capital letters.

  18. nicho says:

    And your anonymous comments are?

  19. nicho says:

    I have a Super Soaker.

  20. KingCranky says:

    Then you should have no problem debunking the Buzzfeed story if you believe it to be false, with actual facts, not opinions.

  21. kwd says:

    But why would a President – any President – need to hack or seize this NRA gun registry/database when so many job-creatin’ for-profit companies are more than willing to sell those lists and that information for money? That’s the REAL dirty little secret – that traditional conservative allies, from which most GOP talking points and marching orders emanate – sell them out FOR PROFIT on a regular basis.

  22. Zorba says:

    We also have two very old shotguns and a light rifle from way, way back when Mr. Zorba used to hunt, before we were married.
    So there we are. We are prepared. We march at dawn!

  23. Zorba says:

    Sadly, no. A couple of axes that we can use in a pinch, however, until somebody builds one. Or more.
    And meanwhile, let’s all wave to the NSA, which is no doubt gathering our IP and email addresses even as we type. ;-)

  24. Indigo says:

    You are awesomely munitioned! I forgot that I also have an archery bow, some old arrows and even a wooden practice sword (bokken) on hand. I am ready to face the foe!

  25. Zorba says:

    Go for it! I’ll help you compile a list of names you can work into your knitting….

  26. Indigo says:

    I like the tumbrel idea. Do you have a spare guillotine handy to go with it?

  27. karmanot says:

    Just remember: purl one, stitch two.

  28. karmanot says:

    OT: I used to fence and do kendo. But I don’t think rusty old 18th century skills will be of much help. :-(

  29. TheOriginalLiz says:

    I guess that means I’m going to have to learn how to knit…

  30. ProgressivesLOL says:

    Buzzfeed is hardly a reliable news source.

  31. Perry Logan says:

    This means the Chinese know who the gun owners are.

  32. VaughanThomas says:

    I believe the article says the NRA has a list of gun owners based not on its members, but on gun ownership records.

  33. Zorba says:

    LOL! Of course, I’d have to find all these, first. They’re around here somewhere, probably in the attic or the garage, or the barn. Perhaps I’d better start looking for them.
    We do have a hay-wagon that could be used as a tumbrel, though…….. ;-)

  34. Anonymous says:

    Oh, the irony. “Libertarians,” as they call themselves now, keep complaining about defending their freedoms. Yet owning a gun puts them on a list to be monitored without their consent. Can’t wait to hear their denial come crashing down on this one.

  35. TheOriginalLiz says:

    I have my father’s ceremonial sword from his Navy service. It sounds like the revolution is going to be quite eclectic.

  36. nicho says:

    This article completely misses the point. The government really doesn’t care who has guns. The NRA is just a shadow agency of the corporatocracy designed solely to drive another wedge between citizens to keep them distracted from what’s really going on.

    The gun owners have this enduring fantasy that their popguns will protect the country from a “rogue government.” The problem is that we’ve had a “rogue government” since December 2000. The corporatocracy has engaged in an open war against the constitution, the middle class, and the American way of life. Gun owners have been pathetically MIA. In fact, many of them support the rogue government.

    But even if the government did go full rogue, upsetting even the gun owners, the guns are meaningless.

    In Iraq, every adult male had a gun, sometimes more. That didn’t save them from Saddam and it didn’t save them from Bush and his gang and their Shock and Awe. Saddam’s sons had an arsenal that the average gun owner could only have wet dreams about. That didn’t save them when the Apache helicopters started firing missiles into their house. And — acting in full medieval drama — the corporatist army displayed their bullet-riddled corpses as a warning to us.

    If the government wanted to go rogue, it could neutralize gun owners in a heartbeat. First, shut down the Internet. They have the power to do that. Next, shut off cell communications. So, how to the gun owners organize? Drums? Smoke Signals?

    Next, just cut off gasoline supplies. In our car-dependent society, people will be too busy fighting with each other to worry about the government. And how do the gun owners get together to “protect” the country? Donkey cart?

    And all the guns in the country combined can’t outmatch the firepower of just a fraction of the military — and the local police, which have now been militarized and are more than willing to oppress and attack the people.

    How about “shelter in place?” Worked like a charm in Boston during the Tsarnaev manhunt. Stay in your home, office, school, whatever. Go out into the street and you’re considered a suspect and could be shot.

    Saving the country with your 16-gauge shotgun is a charming fantasy, but it’s just that — fantasy.

  37. UncleBucky says:

    Uhhh? Who’s living in a dream world? Hahahaha!

  38. UncleBucky says:

    Isn’t the NRA praised by the “law and order” guys?

  39. UncleBucky says:

    So, this is a CYA list to protect the NRA – JIC?? ;o)

  40. ehmkec says:

    You know, the nra could be very helpful and give law enforcement the list. I mean they have said on several occasions that a list of gun owners could be detrimental to our constitutional rights if it were in the wrong hands.

  41. Zorba says:

    A reading comprehension “fail” on Tony’s part.

  42. Monoceros Forth says:

    Did you follow the link to the article? This isn’t about an NRA membership list:

    NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam declined to discuss the group’s
    name-gathering methods or what it does with its vast pool of data about
    millions of non-member gun owners.

    (emphasis mine)

    So what was that about lacking half a brain?

  43. noGOP says:

    you have just been added to the database.

  44. Zorba says:

    We have two sets of nunchaku and a bō, from when our son took martial arts. Two archery bows from when our daughter took archery. An old saber from when my husband fenced, and a foil from when I took fencing. What about those? ;-)

  45. nicho says:

    Given enough time, sure. But then, most of us didn’t spend 11 years in grade scool.

  46. juicyfruityyy says:

    What I get from the headline is that; the NRA, accused the government of wanting to do something, that they (NRA )has already done. It is called projecting, from the NRA. The Re-thugs, do this quite often.

  47. GunFarce says:

    Big deal.. If you think the government does not already have ‘at least’ the names of every gun owner in the country your living in a dream world. It’s called a ‘mailing list’

  48. Tony says:

    Woah, big headlines… National pro-gun group contains members that own
    guns. Anyone with half of a brain knows this. You “predicted” something
    most of us could have figured out in grade school.

  49. cole3244 says:

    the nra elites will probably be glad to sell their list to anyone will to anti up, after all raising money is the nra’s goal no matter the device or the source.

  50. Indigo says:

    I have a set of nunchaku around here somewhere. Does that count?

  51. kinkinhood says:

    This opinion piece seems to be rather misleading. It is titled as a gun registry, but the NRA does not ask for what one owns, rather it is just people who are firearm enthusiast. It is also good to note that not every NRA member owns firearms, but do still support NRA. NRA also has not had evidence of members of their own staff wanting to do mass confiscations.
    I’m also kind of wondering why everyone is assuming the NRA would be easy to hack. They are large enough that they would most probably be a big target for many hackers.

  52. caphillprof says:

    Wouldn’t the NSA already have its own list based on gun sales, gun show attendance, all those emails, all those texts and cellphone calls?

    Aren’t some bright NSA subcontractors already getting filthy rich on the best insider trading in the world?

    What does it take for this society to wake up and smell the coffee?

  53. Sally says:

    How did they get access to state lists? And yeah, I bet getting at the NRA list would be pretty simple for any hacker. Wonder how LaPierre will spin this.

  54. rerutled says:

    I doubt very much that the NRA has given significant thought to the security of that list. Like, if it’s in an open socket database, or whether or not they have any intern/low-wage office staff who wouldn’t provide a copy of the list to any asker for a cash payment of $1 Million. Such groups don’t often think about data security, with hacking or human vulnerabilities.

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