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U.S. SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE PASSES SHELBY AMENDMENT PROTECTING TRACE DATA SECURITY

Friday, June 29, 2007

NRA-ILA welcomed the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee’s action yesterday 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 bipartisan support. This language would keep sensitive firearm trace information in the hands of law enforcement and out of the hands of politicians and special interest groups to use to further their anti-gun crusades. The committee also rejected a Lautenberg-Feinstein Amendment that would have gutted the Shelby Amendment.

The “vote in the Senate Appropriations Committee is a step forward in NRA-ILA’s ongoing fight to preserve trace information as a law enforcement tool and ensure it is not abused to advance political agendas. 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 NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox. “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 had recently asked anti-gun Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) to strip the language from the Senate bill, which she did. 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, the Southern States Police Benevolent Association, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE), and the Department of Justice (DOJ), who argued the pressing need to ensure that this information remain exclusively in the hands of law enforcement.

These law enforcement agencies raised concerns that giving politicians and the media access to this information will compromise the safety of all their officers, particularly those involved in undercover work. It would also severely impact the integrity of ongoing criminal investigations.

“NRA-ILA 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,” Cox said. “It is wrong for anyone to play politics with the lives of law enforcement officers across this country.”

The gun control lobby, its political allies, and trial attorneys have long coveted trace information. These data have been abused to harass and to further politically-motivated lawsuits against firearm retailers and manufacturers, and to undermine the “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.”

In addition to Senator Shelby, NRA-ILA would like to thank the following senators who voted for this pro-freedom and pro-law enforcement bill: Chairman Robert Byrd (D-WV), Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-MS), Ted Stevens (R-AK), Arlen Specter (R-PA), Pete Domenici (R-NM), Kit Bond (R-MO), Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Judd Gregg (R-NH), Robert Bennett (R-UT), Larry Craig (R-ID), Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX), Sam Brownback (R-KS), Wayne Allard (R-CO), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Ben Nelson (D-NE).

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.