Washington, DC— Today Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization led by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, applauded the introduction of the Tiahrt Restrictions Repeal Act. Led by Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA), the legislation removes policy riders that have prevented the release of crime gun trace data, allowed gun dealers to easily sell guns off the books, and stopped federal law enforcement agencies from auditing the background check system or identifying serial straw purchasers.
“If we want our gun laws to be enforced effectively, with a mind toward prevention, we have to allow federal law enforcement to do their jobs in partnership with the communities they have sworn an oath to protect,” said David Chipman, retired ATF special agent and senior policy advisor at Giffords. “By removing some of the constraints placed on ATF, this bill will do just that: allow law enforcement to disrupt gun trafficking organizations, thwart unlicensed dealers, stop straw purchasers and quickly identify licensed gun dealers that have violated the public trust. I’m grateful to Senator Menendez and Representative Lee for introducing this critical legislation.”
About the Tiahrt Amendments:
- Trace data: Trace data restrictions have constrained academic researchers and law enforcement from studying, analyzing and fully understanding gun trafficking patterns; similarly, they have prevented corrupt gun dealers and gun traffickers from being held accountable in court. This rider also prevents ATF from working with researchers to identify gun trafficking channels and prevents other law enforcement agencies from describing the sources of crime guns in court, often blocking states and local governments from enforcing their own laws against gun trafficking.
- Physical inventory: ATF is prohibited from requiring gun dealers to conduct inventories. Gun dealer inventories would help ATF fulfill its mission of gun dealer oversight and accountability by conducting effective inspections of the more than 130,000 firearms dealers nationwide, helping to identify corrupt gun dealers who transfer firearms without conducting background checks or creating records. With gun thefts on the rise, inventories are more critical than ever to ensure that dealers have appropriately reported lost or stolen firearms.
- Record destruction: The record destruction rider requires records of approved background checks to be destroyed after 24 hours. This rider makes it virtually impossible for federal law enforcement to identify gun purchasers who were mistakenly approved, and because of this rider, the FBI cannot effectively audit its background check processes to see how often it allows gun sales or transfers to ineligible people. This rider also prevents the detection of gun buyers who repeatedly buy guns they have no intention for keeping for themselves. As a result, people legally prohibited from possessing guns can often obtain and keep them despite easily identifiable indications in background check records.