Chief Urges Congress to Take Back Tiahrt Amendment
Tuesday July 10, 2007
Allison Martin (502) 574-1909
Alicia Smiley (502) 574-7761
For Immediate Release
Louisville Metro Police Chief Robert White is in Washington, D.C. urging lawmakers to vote down legislation that restricts local law enforcement departments from accessing trace data on illegal guns from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms' national database. The Appropriations Committee of the U.S House of Representatives is expected to vote on the Tiahrt amendment this week.
White will meet with members of the local congressional delegation and participate in a news conference with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and police chiefs from Atlanta and Miami on Tuesday, July 10 at 11:30 am on the terrace of the Cannon House Office Building.
"We are building bridges in Louisville to fight crime and keep our community safe, while Washington is creating roadblocks that make it easier for criminals to get their hands on illegal guns," White said.
The Tiahrt amendment went into effect in 2003 and prohibits officers from accessing the ATF database, except for when they are seeking information about a specific case. This has resulted in police no longer being able to research trends about where illegal guns are purchased and has hindered efforts to create proactive strategies that keep those illegal guns out of the hands of criminals.
The ATF tracks weapons from the point of sale to the commission of a crime. The database contains information on more than two million traces. The organization reports almost 60 percent of guns used to commit crimes come from only about one percent of licensed gun dealers.
"We need access to this information to protect the public and our officers from illegal guns," White said.
Mayor Jerry Abramson asked White to represent him in Washington. Abramson is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns task force. The task force is made up of mayors from 40 states who support national policies that limit the sale and distribution of illegal weapons.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns and 11 national law enforcement organizations support repealing the Tiahrt amendment.
White will return to Louisville on Wednesday.