Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Hunting

Political Report: AHSA and the Tiarht Amendment

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

POLITICAL REPORT

CHRIS COX, NRA-ILA Executive Director

"Firearms trace data is collected by ATF for public safety, not for civil litigation. We urge members of Congress to continue to support the Tiahrt Amendment. Let's send the bad guys to jail, not civil court."

--Chuck Canterbury, national president of the Fraternal Order of Police

here we were in St. Louis, in the midst of NRA's largest Annual Meetings ever, celebrating our freedoms with 60,000 of our closest friends and fellow NRA members. And who should show up to try and steal some spotlight but the poseurs at the American Hunters and Shooters Association (AHSA).

Led by gun-ban lobbyist Robert Ricker and high-dollar underwriter of gun control groups and politicians Ray Schoenke, AHSA was hoping that the thin camouflage of their deceptive name would be enough to blend in. Their goal was to hold a press conference and fool the media into parroting their anti-gun agenda. That agenda, in turn, came straight from anti-gun luminary Mike Bloomberg, mayor of New York City and self-appointed Gun Policy Czar for the nation.

Who is protecting the nation's law enforcement officers? Let's go right to the best possible source and ask them.

Bloomberg itches to file a landslide of new lawsuits against the gun industry, but Congress has intentionally put obstacles in his way. Undeterred by the will of the people and the law of the land, Bloomberg is hell-bent to repeal the laws that stand in his way. His current obsession is pushing for repeal of the Tiahrt Amendment. Loyal readers know that this amendment, which must be passed annually, protects the privacy of everyone who buys guns at retail. It limits the disclosure of firearm trace data to law enforcement agencies working on a bona fide criminal investigation. It specifically prohibits the information from being released to lawsuit-happy mayors who are on fishing expeditions to blame their urban crime problem on the nation's law-abiding gun dealers and buyers.

Having met with resistance from congressmen who understand that the mayor of New York City doesn't run the country, Bloomberg financed the construction of a crude website to paint his campaign in the blue of law and order. The website features videos and tv ads of assorted length, all featuring one Scott Knight, the chief of police in Chaska, Minn. In the videos, Knight convincingly reads the script he's been given and demands that Congress strip the Tiahrt Amendment from this year's spending bill. Bloomberg has vowed to run the ads in the districts of key lawmakers.

What makes Chief Knight such an authority on national gun policy? Well, apparently he's a friend of AHSA's Ray Schoenke. And he has a police uniform. That's instant credibility in the video age.

But what are the real views of law enforcement groups and agencies--not individuals who are old buddies of gun control supporters--on the Tiahrt Amendment?

Chuck Canterbury, national president of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), answered that question in a recent newspaper commentary. Canterbury wrote that, "Some of America's mayors, led by Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City and Thomas M. Menino of Boston, would like you to believe that their Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition is about fighting illegal firearms in their cities and across the country. It's not."

These are strong words from FOP head Canterbury, but he goes on to back them up by writing in the April 24 Wichita Eagle,

"The principal goal of this coalition is the repeal of language that has repeatedly been passed into law for the past several years that prevents information on gun traces collected by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from being given to mayors pursuing civil litigation suits against firearm dealers and manufacturers."

Canterbury points out that officers working gun trafficking cases "know that releasing sensitive information about pending cases can jeopardize the integrity of an investigation or even place the lives of undercover officers in danger." That's why, he says, the FOP "has always supported language protecting firearms trace data, now known as the Tiahrt Amendment."

Canterbury also notes that ATF "has repeatedly gone to court to fight the release of its data, because the release can have a negative effect on its efforts to investigate illegal gun trafficking and threaten the safety of officers and witnesses."

Acting ATF Director Michael J. Sullivan also recently addressed the tracing data issue. He writes in an April 30 Scripps-Howard News Service commentary that his agency "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."

Congress, Sullivan notes, "has recognized ATF's crucial role in that investigative process and has protected our ability to share that sensitive data with law enforcement. The restriction did nothing more than to codify ATF's longstanding policy of sharing trace data with other law enforcement agencies for the purpose of conducting a criminal investigation."

Canterbury summarized the FOP position: "Firearms trace data is collected by ATF for public safety, not for civil litigation. We urge members of Congress to continue to support the Tiahrt Amendment. Let's send the bad guys to jail, not civil court."

Bloomberg ignores all of this reason in his continued push to repeal Tiahrt's privacy protections. But other states have not. This year, Virginia passed a law prohibiting bogus "stings" of gun dealers by hired gumshoes, and the state's attorney general recently sent Bloomberg a letter warning that his henchmen would face felony charges if they returned to the commonwealth.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg's tv ads have met with similar resistance. The ads are intended to put pressure on key legislators, including Rep. Tiahrt himself, and are funded out of Bloomberg's pockets. But tv stations have refused outright to run them, with one station manager noting he could not "verify its claims." Bloomberg spluttered in outrage on his radio show, saying "You can't censor this kind of ad if you don't agree with the opinion," but the truth is that broadcasters can and do refuse to air ads that make false claims. "We are doing what responsible broadcasters do," Laverne E. Goering, kwch director of programming, told the Associated Press.

Let's tally up. Major law enforcement groups have said that Bloomberg is wrong about the Tiahrt Amendment--including the very agency, ATF, that the amendment regulates. tv stations have refused to run his ads because their false claims cannot be verified.

But the people who will eventually decide the fate of the Tiahrt Amendment are the 535 members of Congress. Will they listen to Bloomberg and believe his lies? Or will they listen to law enforcement and law-abiding citizens and renew the Tiahrt Amendment again this year? That's up to you and me.

TRENDING NOW
Seattle Gun Tax Fails to Generate Projected Revenue, Succeeds in Burdening Rights

News  

Gun Laws  

Friday, March 24, 2017

Seattle Gun Tax Fails to Generate Projected Revenue, Succeeds in Burdening Rights

On March 16, 2017, the Seattle Times reported that Seattle city officials were reluctant to release data on the revenue generated by the city’s firearms and ammunition tax, citing taxpayer confidentiality concerns. Less than a ...

Wisconsin: Important Right to Carry Bill Introduced

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Wisconsin: Important Right to Carry Bill Introduced

Today, LRB 2039/1 was introduced to the Wisconsin State Legislature.  This Right to Carry bill would allow for the concealed carry of a firearm without a concealed carry license anywhere in the state where an ...

Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee Embraces Heller and Originalism During Senate Hearings

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, March 24, 2017

Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee Embraces Heller and Originalism During Senate Hearings

Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, President Trump’s pick to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme court, asserted during his confirmation hearings this week that Scalia’s landmark Second Amendment opinion in District of ...

The Washington Post Gives Gun Control Group and U.S. Senator Three Pinocchios on Suppressors

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Washington Post Gives Gun Control Group and U.S. Senator Three Pinocchios on Suppressors

Last week, we wrote about Americans for Responsible Solutions’ irresponsible misinformation about The Hearing Protection Act on Twitter.  Apparently, we weren’t the only ones who took notice of ARS’s complete disregard for the facts on ...

California: One Gun a Month Bill Pulled from Senate Public Safety Hearing

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

California: One Gun a Month Bill Pulled from Senate Public Safety Hearing

Today, Tuesday, March 28, anti-gun SB 497, was scheduled to be heard in the Senate Public Safety Committee.  At the last minute, the bill was pulled from today's agenda. Thank you to all who contacted the ...

Texas: Senate Passes SB 16, LTC Fee Reduction Bill, by Overwhelming Vote

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Texas: Senate Passes SB 16, LTC Fee Reduction Bill, by Overwhelming Vote

On Monday, the Texas Senate voted to pass Senate Bill 16, NRA-backed legislation sponsored by State Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) and Joan Huffman (R-Houston), on a 26-5 vote.

Virginia Action Needed: Governor McAuliffe Vetoes Self-Defense Bills

Monday, March 27, 2017

Virginia Action Needed: Governor McAuliffe Vetoes Self-Defense Bills

Following their passage in the Virginia General Assembly, Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed multiple self-defense bills; Senate Bill 1299, Senate Bill 1300, House Bill 1852, and House Bill 1853. 

News  

Monday, March 27, 2017

NRA Applauds Texas State Senate for Passing SB 16

The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action applauds the Texas Senate today for passing Senate Bill 16, legislation that substantially reduces License To Carry fees in the Lone Star state.

Georgia: Senate Passes Pro-Gun Bills – Governor Needs to Hear From You!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Georgia: Senate Passes Pro-Gun Bills – Governor Needs to Hear From You!

Today, the Georgia Senate passed pro-gun bills; House Bill 406, House Bill 292, and House Bill 280. 

California: Anti-Gun Bill Limiting Firearm Purchases to be Heard in Senate Public Safety on Tuesday, March 28

Friday, March 24, 2017

California: Anti-Gun Bill Limiting Firearm Purchases to be Heard in Senate Public Safety on Tuesday, March 28

On Tuesday, March 28, anti-gun SB 497, is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Public Safety Committee.  SB 497 would expand the existing one handgun a month law to include ALL guns.  

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

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.