Former CIA Officer Jason Hanson Reveals...

Spy Secrets That Can

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Get Out Alive

Mailbag Monday

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I’m in the process of buying an 80% lower receiver to build an AR-15. If I buy this online will the sale be reported to the ATF or FBI?

-From Jeff P.

Answer: Under federal law an 80% lower receiver is not considered a firearm. The ATF has no reason to track these sales and nothing needs to be reported to the ATF or FBI.


Jason, I can’t own a gun where I live. So, I’ve been thinking of buying a collapsible baton like the ones police officer’s carry. Is this a good idea for home defense?

-From Karl L.

Answer: Batons wouldn’t be my first choice for self-defense but they are better than nothing. Before buying a baton, I would check your state and local laws.

Batons are legal to own in many states. But, in most states they aren’t legal for civilians to carry. In some states, you need to be a police officer or on-duty security guard with a permit in order to legally carry a baton.

Since you can’t have a gun, I would go with a large knife instead of a baton.


What is your opinion on video doorbells? Is this part of your home security plan? I’m thinking about buying one.

-From Carrie T.

Answer: These days, any electronic device that connects to the internet can be susceptible to hacking.

I have security cameras covering every inch of the outside of my home in case someone comes by to do something bad. They are all hard-wired around my home. They connect to a computer screen and recorder, where the video is saved.

However, a video doorbell is better than having nothing at all. But, make sure you use a strong password and connect the device to an internet router that uses a VPN. This will help keep it secure from hackers.


There is a city park next to my grandkids school. I will be taking them to school all summer. I noticed a man in the park that watches the kids going in. Should I confront the man about his interest in watching the kids? It looks like he’s taking pictures.

-From Buddy L.

Answer: I would confront the guy and ask him what he’s doing. (Not everyone should do this, but I would).

Then you could call the cops and advise them that there is a suspicious person who is taking pictures of young children.

Another thing is, ask the police if it is possible to trespass the person from the park. It’s not your property but the city might be able to ban people for certain reasons.

You should hang onto any pictures you took of the guy and provide them to police in the hopes they can build a case against the guy if it comes to that.


This summer I’m going to Alaska. I’m debating between getting a hotel for a few weeks or a short-term rental like AirBnB. Are short-term rentals safe?

-From Glena C.

Answer: The problem with these places is that you really don’t know who the homeowner is or what they are doing.

Believe it or not, some of these rental companies allow homeowners to set up security cameras outside the home and inside common areas in the home (not in bedrooms or bathrooms.)

This is why I would be careful in these types of rentals. Who is really checking to make sure the homeowners are following the laws and guidelines?

The problem is, hidden cameras can be incredibly tiny and they can record over Wi-Fi, to a SD card or even to the hard drive they are wired to.

My point is, someone could be invading your privacy and you would never know.


Thanks for all the great info you share! My husband and I just moved to Corpus Christi, Texas. We are new to hurricanes. We are prepared but our concern is looters during a storm. Any tips for stopping looters?

-From Debbie G.

Answer: One of the first things I recommend doing is installing a security alarm system. While this may not stop someone from coming into your home it can at least alert you to the threat.

The fact is, there are many different security measures you can put in place such as cameras, security doors, window screens, motion sensor lights, and other features that will hopefully prevent someone from coming into your home.

However, in the end, the best defense is you being there in-person with a gun. A lot of looters will think twice once they see an AR-15 in your hand or a shotgun. (You wouldn’t brandish the guns, you would only use them if someone broke into your home.)

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