Members of the anti-freedom caucus, or in this case, the Senate Gun Violence Prevention Caucus, have been using the Tiahrt Amendments as a boogeyman since they were enacted years ago. The short story – not to over-simplify – with these amendments is that they keep gun owner’s private information private. Data such as gun trace information is only accessible to law enforcement due to these provisions in the law. Senator Bob Menendez, D-N.J., has pushed for “a renewed legislative effort,” or in other words reintroduced “The Gun Records Restoration and Preservation Act.” The bill, S.598, “A bill to repeal certain impediments to the administration of the firearms laws,” was reintroduced on March 1, 2023.
U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), a founding member of the Senate Gun Violence Prevention Caucus, and U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Calif.-12) today led a growing bicameral coalition of lawmakers in both chambers of Congress in a renewed legislative effort to enhance the ability of local law enforcement to investigate and solve gun crimes, crack down on gun trafficking and negligent gun dealers, and allow researchers to finally study gun violence and its impact on communities across the nation. The Gun Records Restoration and Preservation Act would require the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to collect, preserve, and disclose gun records and gun tracing data.
The legislation was previously introduced as: H.R.2282 and S.974, during the last session of Congress. While this measure is not likely to pass and get enacted, it’s still important to be aware of the perils of the legislation. From the Senator’s release, the following objectives are noted:
Since 2003, Republicans have insisted on restricting the ATF and FBI’s ability to collect, preserve, and make public a range of gun records and tracing data by attaching so-called ‘Tiahrt Amendments’ to the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) yearly funding bill.
The Menendez-Lee legislation would repeal:
- The prohibition on the ATF from releasing firearm tracing data for use by cities, states, researchers, litigants, and members of the public;
- The prohibition on consolidating or centralizing records that gun dealers are required to maintain;
- The requirement that the FBI destroy all approved gun purchaser records within 24 hours;
- The prohibition on the ATF from requiring gun dealers to submit their inventories to law enforcement to enforce the federal law requiring dealers report the loss or theft of firearms.
Looking closer at the bill text, the following areas are the targeted ones:
- SEC. 4. ELIMINATION OF PROHIBITION ON PROCESSING OF FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUESTS ABOUT ARSON OR EXPLOSIVES INCIDENTS OR FIREARM TRACES.
- SEC. 5. REPEAL OF LIMITATIONS ON IMPOSITION OF REQUIREMENT THAT FIREARMS DEALERS CONDUCT PHYSICAL CHECK OF FIREARMS INVENTORY.
- SEC. 6. ELIMINATION OF PROHIBITION ON CONSOLIDATION OR CENTRALIZATION IN THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE OF FIREARMS ACQUISITION AND DISPOSITION RECORDS MAINTAINED BY FEDERAL FIREARMS LICENSEES.
- SEC. 7. REPEAL OF REQUIREMENT TO DESTROY INSTANT CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK RECORDS WITHIN 24 HOURS
The implications are kind of clear here. The progressive agenda can bet better executed through the abolishment of these protections. A quicker path to gun registration would be accomplished, as well as remove important privacy protections that Americans enjoy. The potential chilling of a right could occur, as many would not want their data to be possibly accessible publicly. There are also concerns about one’s safety when it comes to things like doxing.
Again, this measure should not have the steam to make it up and over the hill to transform from bill to law, but being aware of what the far left has on their wish list is important. We’ll certainly be watching what may come of the Senator’s “renewed legislative effort,” but there’s not much to worry about on this one at this time.