The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill containing language preserving the integrity of ongoing criminal investigations and safeguarding the lives of undercover law enforcement officers yesterday, known as the Tiahrt Amendment, as part of the Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2008. The bill passed on a bipartisan vote of 281-142. The amendment maintains current policy of keeping firearm trace information within the law enforcement community and out of the hands of politicians, trial lawyers and special interest groups.
Critics, primarily politicians, political appointees and trial lawyers, have falsely alleged that local police cannot have access to the information. The Amendment clearly states that “nothing shall be construed to prevent the sharing or exchange of such information among and between federal state, local or foreign law enforcement agencies or federal, state, or local prosecutors, or national security, intelligence, or counterterrorism officials, provided that such information, regardless of its source, is shared, exchanged, or used solely in connection with bona fide criminal investigations or bona fide criminal prosecutions.”
Congress agreed with the National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the Southern States Police Benevolent Association, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE), the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the National Rifle Association (NRA) that this information ought to remain exclusively within the law enforcement universe.