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Huh. Only five of the 29 Democratic Congresspeople who signed the March 26 letter to the Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget list their official position.  [Click here to read.] The legislators’ reticence to self-identify or publicize this move is understandable. Their missive is a brazen if backdoor attempt to have the Tiahrt Amendment removed from President Obama’s 2014 budget. That’s the Amendment that specifically prohibits the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ National Tracing Center from releasing eTrace data to anyone other than a law enforcement agency or prosecutor in connection with a criminal investigation. So what’s the biggie? Well Wikipedia tells us that the Tiahrt Amendment also . . .

Precludes gun trace data from being used in academic research of gun use in crime.  Additionally, the law blocks any data legally released from being inadmissible in civil lawsuits against gun sellers or manufacturers.

And that last bit, my friends, is what really galls the civilian disarmament industry. From the letter:

The ATF estimates that the majority of crime guns come from less than two percent of licensed dealers, but local and state law enforcement is currently restricted gun trace data to revoke the licenses of those who break the law.

Wait. What? ATF “crime gun” eTrace data doesn’t prove anything—other than the fact that a particular gun or number of guns came from a particular gun shop. It is not prima facie evidence that the gun store owner did anything wrong when he or she sold the gun.

If the Office of Management and Budget kills the Tiahrt Amendment, the ATF would be free to build a case against legal gun dealers—they’re selling to criminals! they’re a two percenter!—and yank their license. The dealer would then have to fight to have it restored. How many would be able to take on Uncle Sam?

I repeat: removing the eTrace data destruction provision would give the ATF the power to pull the plug on any gun dealer tied to any gun used in any crime—without proving criminal culpability. And open them up to civil lawsuits.

Can you imagine the number of law school-trained ambulance chasers who’d try to take a gun dealer to the cleaners for selling a gun used in a crime? The resulting awards would be . . . chilling. Gun dealers would go down in droves. How great is that?

Even worse, requiring the destruction of background check records within 24 hours makes it nearly impossible for the ATF to catch rogue gun dealers who falsify their records or straw purchasers who buy guns on behalf of criminals.

Nearly” impossible? We should change federal law and expose gun dealers to ATF bullying and/or elimination because it’s just too damn hard for the Bureau to catch “rogue gun dealers” and straw purchasers without establishing a database that would put innocent gun owners in the crosshairs (e.g., an owner whose gun was stolen and then used in a crime)?

By prohibiting the ATF from requiring dealers to complete inventory checks for lost and stolen weapons, the ATF is forced to rely solely on its own limited resources, resulting in less than 20 percent of the nation’s gun dealers being inspected annually.

See how easy it is to wander over the line from enforcement agency to jack-booted government thug (pleading poverty no less)? Why should the ATF submit ANY gun dealer to “annual inspection”? Shouldn’t ATF “inspections” be limited to cases where they can prove to a judge that there is probable cause to suspect a crime has been committed?

Which brings us back to that eTrace data destruction. The ATF would love to “inspect” all gun dealers who sell a certain number of “crime guns” like, say, one. See? They’re suspects in a crime! Stripped of the Tiahrt restrictions, the ATF could continue to be a law unto themselves—only more so.

The Democrats’ Tiahrt Must Die letter concludes by waving the bloody shirt and, laughably, uses the ATF’s own gun running operation to justify unchaining the agency that also brought us the Waco massacre (76 dead, 25 children) and Ruby Ridge (mother and daughter assassinated).

As our nation continues to grapple withe recent tragedies in places like Newtown, Aurora, Tucson, Oak Creek, and other heartbreaks [ED: Fort Hood], we must ensure that our law enforcement personnel are given all the tools necessary to do their jobs. These limitations have already had devastating effects on investigations overs the past few years. During Congressional Investigations into “Operation fast and Furious”, Chairman Darrell Issa and Senator Chuck Grassley has to take the extreme step of requesting gun trace data of the Mexican Ambassador since they weren’t allowed to do so with their own government . . . While recent changes in the Amendments have allowed limited access to trace data for law enforcement, Congress and other policy makers still do not have even this access.

The ATF released [highly and intentionally misleading] stats on all guns eTraced by the Mexican government—a roster that somehow failed to include the guns smuggled at the ATF’s behest. Wikipedia also reports that “Most trace requests that are submitted to ATF from Mexico are considered ‘unsuccessful’ because of missing or improperly entered gun data.”

And what “other policy makers” do the Dems deem worthy of inside access to ATF trace data? Do these Democratic signatories seriously suggest the ATF should release eTrace data to Mayor Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns or The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence who, we’ve learned, wrote entire passages of New York’s hugely unconstitutional package of “gun safety” laws now known as the SAFE Act?

The Tiahrt Amendment put a muzzle on the ATF. Absent eliminating the Agency—saving taxpayers more than $1.4b a year, ending the law enforcement overlap on guns and safeguarding our Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms—that’s a good thing, not a bad thing.

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  1. When will the government learn that we don’t want or need to be protected from ourselves.

    • Never.
      It’s not about protecting us from ourselves. It’s about asserting that THEY are the ones in charge. Never, EVER believe that any of this has anything to do with safety.

      • Yes and no. Chicago ninety years ago was a tidge extreme. The response was overkill, and is now obsolete, but the rationale way back when was almost sound.

        And we do need protection from ourselves. Companies won’t magically decide not to dump cadmium sludge in rivers; someone must needs hold a knife to their throat.

        However, on guns, now, you are quite correct. It’s about making us all into sheeple, rather than only some of us.

  2. Interesting. Note that the government has been trying to take entire hotels for their own because in a few decades a few people were arrested for drugs at the hotel.

    I think this would allow far too much mischief by the gun grabbers.

  3. Another tragedy is the excerpts in this article have people assuming the ATF knows what they’re doing. Not that they do straw purchases themselves to Mexican cartels, lose several guns and hundreds of thousands of dollars in a bogus sting or even know a thing or two about the guns they’re supposed to be enforcing laws over.

  4. Sorry guys, but there is no “eTrace data destruction provision”. Once a gun is traced (for any reason), the trace data stays in ATF’s Tracing System forever. It’s the FBI background check data that supposedly is destroyed. However, the FBI runs the background check through the ATF system, but there’s no requirement for ATF to delete the data…. You figure it out.

    One of the major flaws in ATF’s Tracing System is that a gun can be traced for ANY reason…. From then on, ATF refers to that gun as a “Crime” gun. The faulty logic used by ATF is that any traced gun “might” have been used in a crime or “might” be used in a crime in the future!

    If your CCW is observed or held by police for any reason (traffic stop or ?), then the police can run a trace through ATF. Your CC firearm (by serial number) will be reported as a “crime gun” and your dealer will have another “crime gun trace” on his record. Lovely….

    Many, if not most, traces are totally INNOCENT! Yet, all of them will show up on the dealer’s record. Let’s say your guns are stolen during a break-in and later recovered. Those guns will be run through the ATF Tracing System! And will be reported as “crime guns”.

    ATF’s tracing data is absolute CRAP! Remember the old saying, “Figures don’t lie, but liars do figure”? That’s the ATF Tracing System….

    • And before long even the big-box stores won’t be able to keep at it.

      Congratulations, you’ve just shut down an entire sector of the economy AND stripped us of our rights without actually doing it. After all, if nobody can afford to sell guns, nobody will sell guns. And nobody will buy guns.

  5. If it’s nearly impossible to catch straw purchasers, how is it they just caught the woman who bought guns for the felon believed to have killed that Corrections official in Colorado?

  6. As someone who has substantial experience with liability law, I can tell you that the civil lawsuit restriction being lifted would be the death knell for all but the bigbox retailers who could afford the insurance to stave off the claims. Lawyers do not sue rationally in personal injury cases, they sue everyone that they possibly can. They would sue the guy who fired the gun, the man who sold them the gun, the store at which he worked, the company that manufactured the gun, and the company that manufactured the ammo.

    However, luckily there is ANOTHER piece of legalese that protects them from liability suits. A key point in any liability suit is that the plaintiff must argue that the product was somehow defective. In most of the cases where someone would want to sue over a shooting, it was because the gun functioned flawlessly. This has come up in court and judges are reluctant to prosecute firearms manufacturers because of it.

    • No but the fact is they will try anyway because you know what happens when one fails to defend even a BS lawsuit, as that still costs money, time, and intimidation and will damage or affect the business in question. Punitive punishment such as that cant be allowed to get it’s foot in the door as they will just work that using OUR tax dollars to make such immoral attacks.

      Therein is the inherent reason of the Tiahrt Amendment along with the Protection of Lawful Commerce 2005 Act that made such lawsuits supposedly ILLEGAL to even be filed and gave the Judges specific guidlines to follow!

      We see how the president already executive ordered money for fake science propaganda from the CDC in violation of the Tiahrt Amendment.

      They will try and do the same to the Commerce Act, watch and see!

  7. The danger in this is how the left uses statistics. Take a gun shop located just outside the corporate limits of Chicago. There are no gun shops within the corporate limits of Chicago, nor in many of the close in towns subject to the subtle coercion of the big City. This gun shop cannot refuse to make sales to sometimes questionable people because they’ve been sued for discrimination. So they’re forced to complete sales that end up being straw purchases. Those guns end up as “crime guns” in the (sh)city of Chicago. The (sh)City of Chicago files suit against said gun shop and is able to show it’s responsible for a disproportionate share of “crime guns” in the (sh)City of Chicago (since there are no other gun shops nearby, this is a slam-dunk). Oh, wait!! This has already happened. The MF’s know exactly what the intended consequences of this letter is. It fits their pattern.

    • They did exactly this in Oakland/Berkeley/Emeryville, CA – hounded all of the gun stores out of town with special gun/ammo-specific taxes and regulations, then pointed to the last remaining nearby gun store as a bad actor, because they sold a lot of “crime guns” – no shit, if they’re the only gun store, where else will guns come from?

  8. See how easy it is to wander over the line from enforcement agency to jack-booted government thug

    You’re not trying to claim that ATF has NOT been “Jackbooted thugs” at some time in the last 30years are you?

  9. Simple – just have Fox News and the Washington Times report on this and Mr Colion Noir do another YouTube video. Then we run it in the districts that these coward reside in.

  10. One day…one day we’ll all live in a world where Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms will just be the neighborhood convenient store…

  11. We should never make Law Enforcement’s job easier. Ever! The default position as to be, always, innocent until proven guilty. If the LEO’s can just skim through a database and fish for some information that may or may not be relevant then it will far too easy to make people guilty and put individuals in a a position of having to prove themselves innocent.

  12. The above are well and good arguments but maybe my tinfoil hat is too tight. The NSA is building huge fortified data collecting centers. I suspect they find BATF’s efforts as “cute.” The NSA is so secretive and has so little oversight that I’m sure they know everything about every gun owner in the US down to his or her shoe size. But we’ll likely never know what they know, and to whom the release said data. The NSA could easily make a law abiding citizen disap

  13. The Democrats are only doing these things because they don’t want Arabs, Europeans and Asians to be the only ones who despise Washington.

  14. Nothing like taking a significant percentage of the population and making them aware of the fact they’re being pushed into a corner.

  15. Can we finally get rid of the ATF? They’re really redundant, and could be folded into the FBI or something of that nature. Full agency status is just ridiculous.

  16. This is nothing more than a defatco way to label any lincensed gun dealer an “Illeagal Arms Dealer” per the UN Small Arms Treaty.

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