Anti-gun Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Chairwoman of the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee, announced she will not include the Tiahrt Amendment in the CJS appropriations bill. In doing so, Mikulski will defy the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) and the Fraternal Order of Police-supporters of the Amendment-and instead chose to do the bidding of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R). While a temporary setback, that is not the final step in the Senate process.
As you know from reading previous Alerts, 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 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.
With Senator Mikulski’s recent irresponsible action, the next theater of battle to preserve the Tiahrt Amendment is in the House Appropriations Committee, which is scheduled for action in the next two weeks! If we are to have any hope of preserving the Tiahrt Amendment, we must ensure the House includes this language in its appropriations bill!
It is now more critical than ever that you 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.)