On Monday, The Wall Street Journal reported that federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents has been enlisting local California police to scan the license plates of cars at gun shows since 2010.
License plate scanning technology can record thousands of plates an hour, and is increasingly used by law enforcement to search for fugitives and missing children. However, John Chigos, CEO of PlateSmart Technologies, called mass scanning of plates at gun shows “an abuse of the technology.”
Through a FOIA request, the WSJ obtained ICE emails revealing the request for assistance: “We would like to see if you can support an outbound guns/ammo operation on (redacted) at the Crossroads (Del Mar) Gun Show. We would like to deploy license plate readers.” The Del Mar Gun Show typically draws 6,000 to 9,000 customers.
“I think my customers would be resentful of having been the target of that kind of surveillance,” said Del Mar Gun Show CEO Bob Templeton.