Nearly six years ago, two federal law enforcement agencies considered using license plate readers (LPRs) at gun shows—at least in the Phoenix, Arizona area.
LPRs scan plates at a very high speed—often 60 plates per second—and record the date, time, and precise location that a given plate was seen. Typically, on a patrol car, that plate is then immediately compared to a list of wanted or stolen cars, and if a match is found, the software alerts the officer. But all scans are routinely kept by various law enforcement agencies for long periods of time, sometimes as long as years or more.
According to a heavily redacted set of documents that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) received and published earlier this week, a 2009 e-mail presumably from the Drug Enforcement Agency states that the “DEA Phoenix Division Office is working closely with the [Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms] on attacking the guns going to [REDACTED] and the gun shows, to include programs/operation with LPRs at the gun shows.”
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