||FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 10, 2007
MEMBERS OF MAYORS AGAINST ILLEGAL GUNS STAND WITH POLICE
CHIEFS AND MEMBERS OF CONGRESS TO URGE REPEAL OF TIAHRT AMENDMENT
House Appropriations Committee Set to Consider Tiahrt Amendment
Over 225 Mayors, 34 National, State, and Regional Law Enforcement Organizations,
212 Law Enforcement Executives and 28 Editorial Boards Are Opposed to the Tiahrt
The bi-partisan coalition of Mayors Against Illegal Guns today
stood 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 cities and 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 New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Boston
Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who led today's event.
"The Tiahrt Amendment is the most anti-cop, soft-on-crime law Congress
has passed in years," said Mayor Bloomberg. "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."
"Mayors from across the country, who are on the front lines of public
safety, are saying enough is enough," said Mayor Menino. "It is time
Washington stopped ignoring the violence caused by illegal guns every day. We
need to stop protecting rogue gun dealers and start protecting our police by
removing the Tiahrt Amendment and the restrictions it imposes on law enforcement."
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 Sheriffs'
Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Illinois
Fraternal Order of Police and the Texas Association of Chiefs of Police. Further,
28 newspaper editorial boards are on the record opposing the Tiahrt Amendment,
including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Indianapolis
Star, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune and the Wichita Eagle - the hometown
paper of Representative Tiahrt. Also, 212 law enforcement executives have come
out against the Tiahrt Amendment on behalf of their jurisdictions.
"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.,"
said Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. "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."
"This law has made it more difficult for police to protect us from harm,"
said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. "The only people the Tiahrt Amendment
protects is rogue gun dealers."
"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," said Ann Yom, Legislative Director for the National Sheriffs' Association.
"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."
"This is the right thing to do if we want to give our law enforcement
officers the best available tools to fight illegal gun trafficking and keep
our citizens and communities safe from violent crime," said Representative
Peter King (R-NY).
"The Tiahrt Amendment handcuffs our cops not criminals," said Representative
C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger. "As a former prosecutor, I know how important
it is to give our law enforcement officials the tools they need to keep our
families and our communities safe."
"Not even the most avid gun owners should be opposed to tracing the sources
of illegal guns. This is about cracking down on criminals, and no one else,"
said Senator Charles E. Schumer.
"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," said Senator Hillary Clinton.
"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
"At a time when bloodshed on our streets is on the rise, making sure that
our law enforcement officers have all the tools they need to fight crime should
be our top priority," said Senator Barack Obama. "But instead of providing
those tools, the Tiahrt Amendment ties the hands of police in their effort to
halt illegal gun trafficking and sales. I am proud to join the Mayors Against
Illegal Guns in their fight against this dangerous legislation. Our communities
and the brave men and women who risk their lives everyday to protect us deserve
more from Congress."
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 using 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 Bloomberg and Menino were joined by Mayors Against Illegal Guns members
Mayor Douglas Palmer of Trenton, New Jersey, also the President of the United
States Conference of Mayors; Mayor Sheila Dixon of Baltimore, Maryland; Mayor
Herb W. Bergson of Duluth, Minnesota; Mayor Tom MacMahon of Reading, Pennsylvania;
Mayor Adrian Fenty of Washington, D.C.; Mayor William B. Euille of Alexandria,
Virginia; Mayor Philip Amicone of Yonkers, New York; Mayor Ernest D. Davis of
Mt. Vernon, New York; Mayor Ray Nagin of New Orleans, Louisiana; and Mayor Donald
Cresitello of Morristown, New Jersey.
Members of Congress at the event included: Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ),
Representative Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Representative Patrick J. Kennedy (D-RI),
Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY)
and Representative C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD). 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 Edmund Hartnett; New Carrollton,
Maryland Police Chief David G. Rice and Alexandria, Virginia Police Chief David
Baker. Also at the event were Ray Schoenke, President of the American Hunters
and Shooters Association; Ann Yom, Legislative Director, National Sheriffs'
Association; Ronald Hampton, Executive Director, National Black Police Association
and Chuck Wexler, Executive Director of the Police Executive Research Forum.
||New York City Mayor's Press Office
||Boston Mayor's Press Office