House committee upholds Tiahrt Amendment
Members of the coalition Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) are expressing disappointment over the House Appropriations Committee’s passage of the Department of Justice appropriations bill, which includes the Tiahrt Amendment. A version of the amendment, which restricts local law enforcement agencies’ access to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives trace data from guns recovered in crimes, has been inserted into the Department of Justice appropriations bill every year since 2003. MAIG leaders and police officials had asked the committee on Tuesday to overturn the amendment.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a founding member of MAIG, said Tuesday that the passage of the amendment would be “an insult to the thousands of police officers who face the threat of illegal guns.” After Thursday’s vote, Bloomberg said special interests “carried the day.” “While I was hopeful that the Congressional committee would stand up to the special interests, at least this measure was given public consideration and was debated for several hours instead of being inserted … in the dead of night,” Bloomberg said in a statement.
In a statement, amendment sponsor Rep. Todd Tiahrt of Kansas said the amendment is meant to protect the integrity of trace data, and that revised language in the amendment assured that law enforcement officials and prosecutors would have access to trace data regardless of geographic jurisdiction. “Though previous language did not prohibit information sharing between local and state law enforcement agencies, this revised language explicitly ensures information sharing,” Tiahrt says. More information is available on the MAIG Web site at www.mayorsagainstillegalguns.org.