The safety and stability of our communities is
intrinsic in our responsibilities to the public, and it is time for elected
officials throughout Florida to stand together in the face of rising
We may hail from different political situations and diverse constituencies,
but we all strongly agree that public safety and illegal guns should be a top
priority for the 111th Congress.
That's why we've joined with leaders across the nation in opposition of the
Tiahrt amendments, as they have been previously attached to federal spending
We, along with a bipartisan coalition of 340 mayors and 200 police chiefs,
urge President Barack Obama and our congressional leaders to take a common sense
stand against illegal gun trafficking and reform these public safety
The Tiahrt amendments, named for U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan., are
provisions that make it harder for law enforcement officers to pursue criminals
who buy and sell illegal guns.
For years, the Tiahrt amendments have been attached to federal budgets and
have blocked efforts to stop the flow of illegal guns to criminals.
As leaders throughout Florida continue to battle a devastating violent crime
rate, we cannot afford the setbacks caused by Tiahrt.
These restrictive amendments tie the hands of law enforcement in three
First, the Tiahrt restrictions prevent cities and states from accessing
federal data showing which gun buyers and dealers are the sources of guns that
are recovered over and over again in crimes.
We know from data before these restrictions were put in place that just 1
percent of gun dealers are responsible for 57 percent of the guns recovered in
Second, the Tiahrt amendments prevent the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and
Firearms from requiring dealers to provide an annual inventory.
In 2007, ATF discovered 30,000 guns missing from gun dealer inventories,
based on inspections of just 10 percent of the nation's gun dealers.
Finally, the Tiahrt amendments require ATF to destroy FBI background check
records within 24 hours.
During the Clinton administration, such records were preserved for 180 days
and could help identify so-called "straw purchasers" who illegally buy guns on
behalf of criminals.
Fixing the Tiahrt amendments would in no way impact the lawful purchase of
While most gun dealers run honest businesses, the Tiahrt amendments make it
harder to catch the few law-breaking gun dealers who falsify their records and
the straw purchasers who are fueling the illegal gun market.
These harmful measures have nothing to with the Second Amendment or the
rights of responsible gun owners. Instead, they are making it easier for the
violent few to make our neighborhoods less safe for everyone.
The circumstances created by the Tiahrt amendments are not acceptable, and we
will not stand idly by while more illegal guns flood our streets and poison our