Two Democrats have launched an effort in the House to repeal the Tiahrt Amendments that since 2004 have protected information on guns traced in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives database.
Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Jim Moran (D-Va.) introduced the Tiahrt Restrictions Repeal Act to life the regulations that make data available to federal, state, and local agencies “in connection with and for use in a bona fide criminal investigation or prosecution.”
ATF and other law enforcement organizations have warned that making such information publicly available could jeopardize officers, informants and witnesses against crimes. Mayor Against Illegal Guns says the amendments, attached to appropriations bills and further amended in the years since passage, make it harder to track straw purchasers and identifying law-breaking gun dealers.
Lee and Moran’s bill would lift the provision requiring National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) records to be destroyed within 24 hours, as well as one prohibiting ATF from requiring licensed dealers from conducting annual inventory checks to detect lost and stolen guns.
“We must treat gun violence for what it is: a public health epidemic, and no one would ever stop the Centers for Disease Control from tracking data on heart disease,” Lee said. “To solve this problem, we need access to vital information, and that’s what The Tiahart Restrictions Repeal Act would give us.”
“Nearly 60 percent of guns used in crimes originate from one percent of gun stores. This bill gives federal, state, and local authorities the tools they need to shut down these bad actors and keep guns out of the hands of criminals,” Moran said.
Current co-sponsors include Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Sam Farr (D-Calif.), Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.), Mike Honda (D-Calif.), Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), David Price (D-N.C.), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), and José Serrano (D-N.Y.).