Un-cuff Gun Law Enforcement

CONGRESS SHOULD REPEAL TIAHRT AMENDMENT

Posted: June 20, 2007

SURELY, THE MOST unfortunate citizens in this country aren't the poor, the sick or the homeless.

Their troubles can't begin to hold a candle to the poor beleaguered American gun owner, whose life is a 24-hour misery of constant vigilance against lawmakers trodding upon his rights - laws that might limit on the number of guns he can own, or impose terribly unfair restrictions like denying him the right to purchase a gun if he is a terrorist.

It's hard not to wonder if maybe holding a firearm too long leads to a general sapping of strength, considering how the gun lobby squeals over every attempt to enforce reasonable safeguards that limit potential damage done by deadly weapons.

Or maybe they are so busy wrapping each of their guns in an American flag so that it looks like a symbol of patriotism that they have forgotten that it's actually a weapon designed to destroy. Predictably, then, the pro-gun lobby is fighting attempts to repeal the Tiahrt amendment, scheduled for a vote in Congress this week.

The amendment restricts the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives from sharing full gun trace information with local police on guns used to commit crimes. It's time to get rid of this affront to both reason and law enforcement. Consider this maddening example: A gun is recovered at a murder scene. The police can get trace information on who purchased the gun, when, and from where. But they cannot request information on whether that owner has purchased other guns that were used in a crime, or where those guns might have been purchased. For example, if they wwere all from the same dealer, it might suggest the dealer is a trafficker. The original rationale for the amendment was to prevent states from bringing lawsuits against gun manufacturers. But that has since been taken care of by another law that prevents such lawsuits.

If you're a law-abiding gun owner, why shouldn't this repeal make sense? If you're a legitimate gun dealer, don't you want the bad ones identified? Gun crime information is one of the few tools cities like ours have in being able to nail illegal dealers and buyers. Tell Congress, including Rep. Chaka Fattah, who sits on the appropriations committee overseeing this vote, that we should not tie the hands of those who are trying to protect us from criminals. Especially in the name of those who continue to hide behind the American flag.*

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