U. S. Representative Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.), has recently come under attack from anti-gun media and gun control advocates for offering an amendment to the 2005 Commerce-Justice-State Appropriations Bill that would preclude the disclosure of personally identifying data about the nation`s gun owners. The information--multiple handgun purchase data and firearm trace data--is being sought in various reckless civil lawsuits against the firearms industry.
While the House Appropriations Committee approved the measure on a bipartisan vote of 42-19, there was shrill opposition from some quarters. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R), decried the decision, calling it "an outrage" and an "end run" by the NRA that would take away the ability to "hold gun manufacturers liable." Of course, the Brady Campaign wasted no time in lambasting Rep. Tiahrt and voicing their opposition to the bill, agreeing with Bloomberg and sharing his "outrage" that this private information will not be made publicly available.
Rep. Tiahrt introduced the amendment in response to a recent New York City court ruling that said the city could use federal gun records in its "public nuisance" lawsuit against the firearms industry. The amendment bars some federal gun records for use in civil lawsuits, but still allows the information to be made available to law enforcement and prosecutors, and for bona fide criminal investigations.
Charles Knapp, a spokesman for Rep. Tiahrt said the bill is designed to protect law enforcement by preventing sensitive information about gun investigations from leaking to the public. "The better good is served in protecting law enforcement and criminal investigations into people who have potentially broken the law," Mr. Knapp said. "A gun trafficker who`s under investigation and has access to this information is basically tipped off."
Even the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE), the Fraternal Order of Police, and New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly oppose release of this information, arguing that the databases contain information (such as names of buyers of traced guns) that could identify officers or informants, and could jeopardize ongoing investigations. And does anyone doubt the willingness of some members of the media to publish this information as they have done with concealed carry permit lists in some states?
Even worse, the information included in these reports includes the name, address, make, models, and serial numbers of the guns purchased, and, if released, could provide criminals with a shopping list of your guns with your address!
Far from attacking Rep. Tiahrt, all freedom loving, pro-Second Amendment Americans (especially those in Kansas) should thank him for his commitment to protecting our rights and his willingness to do so even in the face of the anti-gunners` offensive. Please contact Rep. Todd Tiahrt this week and thank him for his support of our gun rights and our right to privacy. You can find contact information for Rep. Tiahrt by using the "Write Your Representatives" tool at www.NRAILA.org, or you can call his office at (202) 225-6216, or e-mail him at http://www.house.gov/tiahrt/email.htm.