Mayor Menino Joins Bloomberg to Urge Repeal of Tiahrt Amendment
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For Immediate Release
July 11, 2007
Released By:
Mayor's Office
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Press Office

Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition gathers before House Appropriations Committee Considers Legislation

Mayor Thomas M. Menino today joined Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the bi-partisan coalition of Mayors Against Illegal Guns on Capitol Hill with law enforcement officials and members of Congress to urge the repeal of the Tiahrt Amendment. The event comes on the eve of a crucial vote in the House Appropriations Committee. The mayors oppose the Tiahrt Amendment, named after Kansas Representative Todd Tiahrt who has sponsored it, because of how it restricts the access of law enforcement to gun trace data, an essential crime fighting tool. The removal of the Tiahrt Amendment is the top legislative priority of the over 225-member Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition, co-chaired by Mayors Menino and Bloomberg.

"Mayor's from across the country, who are on the front lines of public safety everyday, are saying enough is enough," Mayor Menino said. "It is time Washington stopped ignoring the tragedies of violence being caused by illegal guns in our cities and towns across the country. The tools needed to help stop the proliferation of illegal guns are there and it's time to stop protecting rogue gun dealers and start protecting our public safety by removing the Tiahrt Amendment and the restrictions it imposes on our law enforcement officers."

"The Tiahrt Amendment is the most anti-cop, soft-on-crime piece of legislation Congress has passed in years," Mayor Bloomberg said. "It prevents our police officers from tracking the illegal gun trade – and locking up those who engage in it. Imagine if Congress put the same constraints on police when investigating illegal drug sales, no one would stand for it. Later this week, the House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to vote on a bill that currently includes the Tiahrt Amendment. If the bill is passed, it would be an insult to thousands of police officers who face the threat of illegal guns every single day."

The Mayors' campaign to remove the Tiahrt Amendment enjoys wide support from law enforcement. Thirty-four national, state and regional law enforcement organizations have come out against the Tiahrt Amendment – including the National Sherrifs' Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police and the Texas Association of Chiefs of Police. Further, 28 editorial boards are on the record opposing the Tiahrt Amendment, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Boston Globe, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune and the Wichita Eagle – the hometown paper of Representative Tiahrt. For a full list of the 212 law enforcement executives who have come out against the Tiahrt Amendment visit www.protectpolice.org and www.mayorsagainstillegalguns.org.

"Given the alarming increase in violent crime and drastic cuts in federal assistance for vital local law enforcement programs, it is critical now more than ever that sheriffs have access to more information to combat crime not less," Ann Yom, Legislative Director for the National Sheriffs' Association said. "We believe that the Tiahrt amendment debilitates law enforcement's ability to effectively share information with other agencies and object to its restrictions relating to gun trace data."

"The police in Chicago and every other city are working day and night to keep illegal guns out of the hands of criminals, and they need help – not hindrance – from their senators and representatives in Washington, D.C.," Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley said. "I can't believe that anyone who's in favor of law and order would want to tie the hands of our police when it comes to tracing the guns used in crimes. Instead of protecting the gun lobby, Congress should be protecting the people of this nation from the gun violence that claims the lives of 30,000 of their constituents each year."

"The flow of illegal guns into the streets and communities of New York is a scourge, killing civilians and police alike, ruining lives and destroying families without mercy. We all want to fight crime and get illegal guns off the streets, but in order to do that, we must give law enforcement the information and resources they need to do their jobs effectively," Senator Hillary Clinton said. "For years, the Tiahrt amendment has made it more difficult and more dangerous for police officers to combat illegal gun trafficking. I want to commend Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the other Mayors Against Illegal Guns for their leadership on this issue. It is well past time for Congress to follow their courageous lead."

The Tiahrt Amendment, a version of which has been inserted into the Department of Justice appropriations bill each year since Fiscal Year 2003, places broad restrictions on the use of gun trace data, which gives investigators information on where a gun was purchased and who it was sold to. The Tiahrt Amendment also prevents local governments and police from accessing federal gun trace data from areas outside their immediate geographic jurisdiction; prevents cities from use of trace data in state and local civil enforcement actions, including gun license revocations; and prevents the ATF from publishing reports that use gun trace data to analyze nationwide gun trafficking patterns.

Mayors Menino and Bloomberg were joined by Mayors Against Illegal Guns members Mayor Sheila Dixon of Baltimore, Maryland; Mayor Herb W. Bergson of Duluth, Minnesota; Mayor Tom McMahon of Reading, Pennsylvania; Mayor Adrian Fenty of Washington, DC; Mayor William B. Euille of Alexandria, Virginia; Mayor Philip Amicone of Yonkers, New York; Mayor Ernest D. Davis of Mt. Vernon, New York; and Mayor Donald Cresitello of Morristown, New Jersey.

Two members of Congress were also at the event: Representative Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) and Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY). Police officials at the event were New York City Police Department Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly; Philadelphia Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson; Louisville Police Chief Robert C. White; Chaska, Minnesota Police Chief Scott Knight; Baltimore Police Chief Leonard Hamm; Yonkers, New York Police Commissioner Robert Taggart and Alexandria, Virginia Police Chief David Baker. Also at the event were Ray Schoenke of the American Hunters and Shooters Association, Ann Yom, Legislative Director, National Sheriffs' Association and Chuck Wexler of the Police Executive Research Forum

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