Fairfax, Va. - The National Rifle Association (NRA) welcomed the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee decision to reinstate language commonly known as the Tiahrt Amendment into the Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bill. The amendment offered by Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) passed with broad bi-partisan support. This language would keep firearm trace information in the hands of law enforcement and out of the hands of politicians and special interest groups. The body also rejected a Lautenberg-Feinstein Amendment that would have weakened the Shelby Amendment.
“Today’s vote in the Senate Appropriations Committee is a step forward in the NRA’s on-going fight to preserve trace information as a law enforcement tool and ensure it is not abused by politicians. Senators Richard Shelby and Larry Craig (R-ID) stood up for freedom and for law enforcement today and we are grateful for their leadership on this matter,” said Chris W. Cox, NRA’s chief lobbyist. “We know we will be engaged in a protracted battle with billionaire politicians and their allies here on the Hill. We will continue our hard work to ensure that the Shelby Amendment remains American public policy as it has for the past five years.”
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently asked anti-gun and anti-law enforcement Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) to strip the language from the Senate bill. By complying with Bloomberg’s request, Sen. Mikulski defied the appeals of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) representing over 300,000 rank and file law enforcement men and women across the country, Southern States Police Benevolent Association, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE), and the Department of Justice (DOJ) that this information remain exclusively in the law enforcement realm.
These law enforcement agencies have cited concern that giving politicians and the media access to this information will compromise the safety of all their men and women, particularly those involved in undercover work. It could also severely impact the integrity of on-going criminal investigations.
"The NRA is on the side of rank and file policemen and women while Bloomberg and Mikulski have politicians, political appointees and the gun control lobby on their side. It is wrong for anyone to play politics with the lives of law enforcement officers across this country," added Cox.
The gun control lobby, their political allies and trial attorneys have long coveted trace information. This data has been abused to harass and to further politically motivated lawsuits against firearm retailers and manufacturers and to undermine the objective of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. The NRA has maintained that the primary objective ought to be to arrest, prosecute and get the maximum sentences for those retailers or manufacturers who flout the law. Civil lawsuits should not take precedence over criminal proceedings.
The NRA would like to thank the following Senators who voted for this pro-freedom and pro-law enforcement bill: Ranking Member Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS), Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK), Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM), Senator Kit Bond (R-MO), Minority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH), Senator Robert Bennett (R-UT), Senator Larry Craig (R-ID), Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX), Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO), Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chairman Robert Byrd (D-WV), Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD), Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE).
Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen's group. Four million members strong, NRA continues its mission to uphold Second Amendment rights and to advocate enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation's leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the military.