For more than five years, cities suing the gun industry and anti-gun organizations have sought access to confidential law enforcement data on firearm traces — records that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) compiles when it traces firearms in response to requests from law enforcement agencies.
Every year since 2003, the U.S. Congress has passed increasingly strong language to keep this information confidential. The legislation—a series of "riders" to the appropriations bill that funds BATFE—is widely known as the "Tiahrt Amendment," after its sponsor, Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.). This critically important legislation protects the privacy rights of law-abiding gun owners, the safety of law enforcement officers, and the integrity of criminal investigations by preventing inappropriate release of confidential firearm trace data except in the course of a bona fide criminal investigation.
On April 30, Michael Sullivan, acting director of the BATFE, had this to say (www.scrippsnews.com/node/22041), "ATF considers this information law-enforcement-sensitive because it is often the first investigative lead in a case. We treat it no differently than fingerprint matches and other crime-scene information, since disclosure outside of law enforcement can tip off criminals to the investigation, compromise cases and endanger the lives of undercover officers, witnesses and confidential sources."
Please continue to contact your U.S. Representative in support of the Tiahrt Amendment, and remind him or her that NRA and law enforcement remain united in support of this critical legislation. And please be sure to urge your family, friends, and fellow firearm owners to do the same!
(For more information on the "Tiahrt Amendment," please visit: www.nraila.org/Issues/FactSheets/Read.aspx?id=208.)