DHS Admits to Monitoring 3D Printer Purchases with the Help of Amazon, eBay, and PayPal

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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) made a shocking admission while speaking about a Staten Island man who was arrested for making homemade firearms. The DHS, with the help of Amazon, eBay, PayPal, and others, is monitoring Americans buying 3D printers and 3D printing materials that could be used for making firearms.

The Homeland Security Investigations New York’s El Dorado Task Force (EDTF), which consists of various units for DHS, including the Homeland Security Investigations Financial Crimes Task Force, helped the New York Police Department (NYPD) raid the home of John Raia. The 57-year-old man was accused of manufacturing firearms without serial numbers and having several standard compacity magazines, which are against New York State law to own. New York law enforcement authorities arrested the man. After this raid, the task force showed off the guns and ammo it had seized during the raid.

Sgt. Rashawn Vaughn, commanding officer of the Homeland Security Investigations Financial Crimes Task Force (HSIFCTF), spoke with the press after the raid and made some startling admissions. According to the investigator, DHS is tracking the sale of anything that can be used to create a firearm, including metal rails used in 3D-printed guns. Not only is the government monitoring the sale of perfectly legal gun parts, but they are also tracking things such as the purchase of 3D printers. The vast majority of people who buy 3D printers do not use them to print guns, but buying too many printing supplies or printers could get you investigated by Homeland Security.

There is no federal law against making homemade firearms, even though the Biden Administration demonizes the practice by calling privately manufactured firearms (PMFs) “ghost guns.” The lack of federal statute banning the PMFs means that DHS is investigating people for carrying out perfectly lawful commerce. If someone passes a certain threshold for purchasing 3D printing supplies, which DHS hasn’t announced, the federal government admitted that it would investigate the buyer and monitor their social media.

More disturbing is that giant online retailers such as Amazon and eBay and payment processors such as eBay are turning over sales records of anyone who purchased certain items, including 3D printers, every two months to authorities to sift through. None of those being investigated broke any laws for their purchases. To many, this would be like investigating anyone who buys a car because they might buy one to use as a getaway vehicle to be used during a bank robbery. In an article published by AmmoLand a couple of weeks ago, the FBI was quoted as saying that they cannot investigate people for Constitutionally protected conduct, but that seems to be what DHS is doing when it comes to buying 3D printers and legal gun parts.

“We just basically track internet purchases from eBay, PayPal, Amazon, different various online companies,” Vaughn said. “We get a list every other month, backdated a month, with people purchasing components that could possibly create a ghost gun, like the rails, the 3-D printer.”

This practice reminds the gun community about the Gun Violence Prevention Through Financial Intelligence Act (GVPTFIA). That act would require the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to help banks track gun purchases so they can notify the federal government. This time, it is reversed. The big tech giants that take gun owners’ money are turning over thousands of records to the federal government on the suspicion that someone might make their own gun, even though that is not federally illegal and is legal in most states.

The gun community has a deep distrust of the government and perceives the FBI, DHS, and the ATF to be Big Brother-like entities. In the monitoring of lawful commerce, these departments are doing nothing to build trust with the people of the Country. AmmoLand News will file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to get more details on the monitoring programs to determine how widespread and long it has been in effect. If you have bought a 3D printer, especially in a state like New York, you should know that Big Brother might be watching you.

About John Crump

John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. Mr. Crump has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.

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