The Tiahrt Amendment:

A reader asked for analysis of the Tiahrt Amendment, which will be voted on today in the House Appropriations Committee. The amendment, which has been a BATFE appropriations rider since 2004, protects the privacy of law-abiding gun owners by restricting disclosure to third parties of various federal records of lawful gun purchases, by enforcing a prior federal law requiring the prompt destruction of National Instant Check System records on lawful purchases, and by forbidding the creation of a computerized federal gun-owner registry. The amendment also partially limits the disclosure of information from federal gun traces--which Chicago Mayor Daley and other politicians have sought, in order to support their lawsuits against gun manufacturers. More detailed information is available from a 2004 article I wrote for National Review Online.

The gun control lobby, with New York City Mayor Bloomberg as the point man, are seeking to eliminate the Tiahrt Amendment entirely, but their public campaign has said almost nothing about the most of the provisions of the amendment. (Even though those provisions are contrary to the lobbies' support for comprehensive gun-owner registration.) Instead, they claim that the trace provisions interfere with local law enforcement. Notably, Kansas Rep. Tiahrt offered to negotiate technical modifications of the trace language, to the extent necessary to address legitimate law enforcement (as opposed to lawsuit) needs, but Mayor Bloomberg broke off the negotiations.