NSSF ACTION ALERT: Gun Trace Data Under Attack in Congress [UPDATED]
In the wake of the Fast and Furious scandal and a decision by the Department of Justice to approve multiple sales reporting of long guns along the Southwest border, last night Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA-29) announced his intention to offer an amendment that would strip from an appropriations bill an important law enforcement protection, known as the Tiahrt Amendment, that safeguards law enforcement-only firearms tracing data. The Schiff amendment would allow access to law enforcement trace data by those outside of law enforcement. Rep. Michael Honda (D-CA-15) will offer an amendment supported by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg that will continue the recently launched regulatory assault on the firearms industry.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation -- the trade association for America's firearms industry -- is urging all members of industry, sportsmen, gun-owners and firearms enthusiasts to call Rep. Harold Rogers (R-VA-10), Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee at (202) 225-2771 and urge the committee to VOTE NO on the Schiff and Honda amendments, and any other amendments that undermine the law enforcement protections provided for in the Tiahrt Amendment and any anti-gun amendments that would place additional and costly regulatory burdens on members of the firearms industry.
Public disclosure of gun trace data, including to elected officials, is dangerous. That is why several years ago Congress approved further restrictions on the access and use of this data in order to safeguard law enforcement and ensure compliance with provisions of the federal Gun Control Act. The measures ensure that the data remain only in the hands of law enforcement for criminal investigations and prosecutions.
The best argument for restricting access to this data is a well-known elected official from New York City. Several years ago, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg had the NYPD inappropriately obtain trace data not for a criminal investigation but for use in preparing a civil lawsuit. He turned the data over to private eyes who conducted so-called sting operations of out-of-state federally licensed firearms retailers. He did so without the knowledge of ATF or even his own police commissioner. As a result, Mayor Bloomberg interfered with as many as 18 ongoing criminal investigations, jeopardizing the lives of law enforcement officers, informants, witnesses and others. In fact, ATF was forced to pull agents out of field for their own protection.
The Honda amendment would impose significant cost to manufacturers by requiring them to manually and physically match each and ever single serial number of the firearms in inventory to the individual record entry in the manufacturer's acquisition and distribution record causing the manufacturers to shut down their factory for lengthy time periods.
The hearing is taking place NOW -- ACT IMMEDIATELY by calling (202) 225-2771.
Rep. Issa and Sen. Grassley Respond to MAIGs False Claims
In a letter sent to Chairman Harold Rogers of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Darrel Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley strongly refuted the claims by Mayors Against Illegal Guns that the Tiahrt Amendment was an impediment to the investigations into BATFE’s “Fast and Furious” project. (The Tiahrt amendment, which is now permanent law, prevents the release of confidential gun purchase data except for legitimate legal investigations.)
The two congressional leaders stated directly that the Tiahrt amendment in no way impeded their investigation nor was it cited by the DOJ as a reason to deny information requests. They did, however, emphasize that the DOJ itself has been uncooperative and unresponsive to repeated requests for information.
So, while MAIG falsely claims the a law protecting the privacy of law-abiding gun owners is at fault, the real blame for a lack of complete information on the reckless “fast and furious” project lies at the feet of senior Obama Administration DOJ officials.
UPDATE: Amendments Attacking Gun Trace Data Defeated!
NSSF Action Alert - Firearms Industry Success!
Earlier today we sent out an action alert urging all members of industry, sportsmen, gun-owners and firearms enthusiasts to call the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee to urge the committee to vote no on the Schiff (D-CA-29) amendment which would have stripped from an appropriations bill an important law enforcement protection, known as the Tiahrt Amendment, that safeguards law enforcement-only firearms tracing data and the Honda (D-CA-15) amendment, supported by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, which would have continued the recently launched regulatory assault on the firearms industry.
Your efforts were a tremendous success! We can declare victory in the Appropriations Committee since they heard you loud and clear – these and other anti-gun amendments that undermine the law enforcement protections provided for in the Tiahrt Amendment or any anti-gun amendments that would place additional and costly regulatory burdens on members of the firearms industry were defeated. Just as important, several pro-industry amendments passed, including one to block ATF's new over-reaching multiple sales reporting requirement for certain rifles and another to allow the importation of shotguns ATF is attempting to ban under the so-called "sporting purpose" test.
Again, great job!
UPDATE #2 - House Committee Passes Amendment to Defund Illegal Obama Firearm Sales Reporting Requirement
Today, during consideration of the FY 2012 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill, pro-gun U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) offered an amendment to prohibit the use of funds for a new and unauthorized multiple sales reporting plan proposed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The Amendment was passed by a vote of 25-16.
The Rehberg Amendment, which was strongly supported by NRA, will defund the Justice Department's controversial and illegal move requiring federally licensed firearms retailers in states bordering Mexico to report multiple sales of semi-automatic rifles.
As we reported yesterday, this procedure was proposed last fall as an "emergency" measure by BATFE. Specifically, it calls for all of the firearm retailers in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas to report multiple sales, or other dispositions, of two or more .22 caliber or larger semi-automatic rifles capable of accepting a detachable magazine purchased by a single individual in a five consecutive business day period. It is important to note that under existing law, BATFE already has full access to every dealer’s firearm transaction records, either during a bona fide criminal investigation or simply to enforce compliance with record keeping requirements. This new reporting procedure would create a registry of owners of many of today's most popular rifles--firearms owned by millions of Americans for self-defense, hunting and other lawful purposes. Most importantly, however, the BATFE has no legal authority to demand these reports.
In addition, the agency has recently come under intense scrutiny due to its ill-conceived "Fast and Furious" operation. "Fast and Furious" encouraged Arizona gun stores to sell thousands of guns to suspicious buyers, despite objections from dealers and even BATFE's own field agents.
Earlier this year, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on and passed, by a vote of 277 to 149, an amendment to H.R. 1 (also offered by Rep. Rehberg, along with Rep. Dan Boren (D-Okla.)) that also would have prohibited the use of federal funds for this reporting requirement. Unfortunately, the amendment was not included in the final version of the bill as a result of Senate inaction.
In March, U.S. Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) introduced S. 570--"to prohibit the Department of Justice from tracking and cataloguing the purchases of multiple rifles and shotguns." The bill would ensure that federal funds cannot be used for the multiple sales reporting procedure.
NRA will continue to work to make sure the Rehberg Amendment makes it through the appropriations process. The amendment is scheduled to be heard on the House floor in August.
While the Rehberg Amendment is a critically important first step, it is imperative that you contact your U.S. Senators and ask them to cosponsor and support S. 570. You can find contact information for your elected officials by using the "Write Your Representatives" tool at www.NRAILA.org, or you can call your U.S. senators at (202) 224-3121. S. 570 currently has 29 cosponsors. To see if your senators are cosponsors, please click here: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d112:SN00570:@@@P
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