Documents obtained by the Washington Examiner reveal that the U.S. government has been conditioning plea agreements with defendants, stipulating they sign a secret form that strips their rights to purchase, own, or use firearms. The form was not authorized through Congress and has been criticized as unconstitutional by Republican lawmakers. Between 2011 and 2019, the FBI, Secret Service, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement worked together to obtain signatures on this internal form from at least 60 U.S. citizens.
One instance involved a government prosecutor who worked behind closed doors with the bureau and Secret Service to condition signing of the form as part of a legal case. A lawyer sent a letter to a Secret Service agent enclosing the NICS firearm form that had been signed by their client and doctor in compliance with a plea agreement. The case number on the document was redacted by the FBI, and it is unclear why the defendant was being charged or why the FBI and Secret Service had involvement.
The form registered people into the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System and asked signatories to identify as a “danger” to themselves or others or lacking the “mental capacity adequately to contract” their lives. However, it is unclear why the government used this form, and second amendment lawyers, including the outside counsel of Gun Owners of America, Robert Olson, have stated that U.S. citizens cannot legally forfeit their gun rights.
Republican lawmakers have criticized the use of this secret form, claiming that it is unconstitutional and a violation of the second amendment. They argue that stripping citizens of their right to bear arms through a secret process that is not authorized by Congress is a clear overreach of government power.