Tags: gun | trace | obama | nra

NRA, Big City Mayors Support Criminal Gun-Tracing Law

Wednesday, 13 May 2009 01:15 PM

By Dan Weil

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The National Rifle Association and big-city mayors may not agree on much when it comes to guns.

But on at least one issue they do hold common views. Both sides approve the Obama administration’s proposal for full law-enforcement access to information concerning traces of guns used in crimes.

The White House seeks a partial rollback of a 2003 amendment named for Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan., so that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives can share gun-tracing information with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. Prosecutors also could receive the information.

While the amendment already allows ATF to release gun tracing information from its database to a law enforcement agency or prosecutor in connection with a criminal investigation, mayors say the amendment restricts police officers’ access to vital information.

While the mayors and the NRA aren’t in complete agreement on the measure, their loose accord certainly boosts the chances for it to pass muster in Congress, Politico news service points out.

To be sure, the NRA’s endorsement is lukewarm.

“While we do not believe any change is necessary, we appreciate the President’s decision to support law enforcement and not gun control activists,” NRA spokesman Christopher Cox told Politico.

Mayors such as New York’s Michael Bloomberg support the idea with more gusto. They argue that lifting restraints on the access of local police to gun information will lessen crime in their cities.

The Obama administration has disappointed some gun control activists by not taking a more extreme position on the issue. For example the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence wants full repeal of the Tiahrt Amendment.

But Congress may not share that view. When Attorney General Eric Holder suggested reinstituting a U.S. ban on the sale of certain semiautomatic weapons earlier this year, many lawmakers balked.

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