The History of the Tiahrt Trace Data Amendment

Gun Control: Statutory Disclosure Limitations on ATF Firearms Trace Data and Multiple Handgun Sales Reports


For FY2003-FY2009, a rider on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) appropriations has prohibited that agency from disclosing firearm trace data (based on firearm transfer records maintained in part by licensed gun dealers) and multiple handgun sales reports data for any purpose other than supporting a criminal investigation or agency licensing proceeding. This rider is known as the "Tiahrt" amendment, for its sponsor in full committee markup of the FY2004 Commerce-Justice-State appropriations bill, Representative Todd Tiahrt. A coalition of 210 city mayors led by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg favors the repeal of the rider, but the Fraternal Order of Police favors retaining it, as does ATF. For FY2008, Congress included modified Tiahrt amendment language in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008 (P.L. 110-161). This modified language states explicitly that it does not prohibit the release of aggregate statistical data on illegal gun trafficking or statistical information on the U.S. firearms industry. For FY2009, similar language was included in the Omnibus Appropriations Act 2009 (P.L. 111-8).

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