WASHINGTON–U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) joined U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), and U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Calif.-12) 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.

“Gun records and gun tracing data are important tools that would help law enforcement keep communities safe. It’s ridiculous that the Tiarht Amendments deliberately stand in the way of solving gun crimes, cracking down on gun traffickers, and keeping firearms out of dangerous hands. Even with the limited data available, ATF was able to determine almost 25 percent guns used in crimes were legally purchased within the last year. Increased access to this data would ensure law enforcement can do a better job investigating and stopping gun violence,” said Murphy.

“We should not enable people who illegally traffic firearms or use guns to kill or injure innocent children and adults to escape prosecution.  This legislation will end once and for all current laws restricting disclosure of gun records to law enforcement and public officials seeking to reduce gun violence,” said Blumenthal.

“For too long, the NRA has had an iron grip on Congressional Republicans – actively working to keep critical information such as gun records and tracing data out of the public domain, making it that much harder for law enforcement agencies to solve gun crimes, disrupt gun trafficking schemes, and keep our communities safe,” said Menendez. “In fact, my GOP colleagues have for years inserted the so-called ‘Tiahrt Amendments’ in routine spending bills to ensure that gun records and tracing data never see the light of day, and in many cases require the data to be completely destroyed. It is time we repeal these provisions and give our law enforcement access to critical information that can help make our communities safer from the scourge of gun violence.”

“From Buffalo to Monterey Park, the threat of gun violence looms over all of our communities. And for too long, Republicans in Congress, the NRA and the rest of the gun lobby have stood in the way of meaningful gun reforms that could help bring an end to this horrific violence and ensure public safety,” said Lee.  “It’s long past time to remove the Tiahrt restrictions so the FBI and ATF can collect and maintain the data needed to investigate and prevent gun violence. I’m proud to reintroduce the Gun Records Restoration and Preservation Act and lead this effort with Senator Menendez.” 

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 Gun Records Restoration and Preservation Act would repeal:

  1. The prohibition on the ATF from releasing firearm tracing data for use by cities, states, researchers, litigants, and members of the public;  
  2. The prohibition on consolidating or centralizing records that gun dealers are required to maintain;
  3. The requirement that the FBI destroy all approved gun purchaser records within 24 hours;  
  4. 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. 

The Gun Records Restoration and Preservation Act is supported by several organizations, including Brady, Everytown for Gun Safety, Giffords, Newtown Action Alliance, and the Center for American Progress.

Joining Murphy, Blumenthal, and Menendez U.S. Senators Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) also co-sponsored the legistlation. 

U.S. Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.-01), Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.-05), Jake Auchincloss (D-Mass.-04), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.-18), Sean Casten (D-Ill.-06), Joe Morelle (D-N.Y.-25), Jason Crow (D-Colo.-06), Dina Titus (D-Nev.-01), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.-At-Large), Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-Calif.-37), Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.-26), Adam Smith (D-Wash.-09), Mark DeSaulnier (D-Calif.-10), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.-09), Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.-44), Bill Keating (D-Mass.-09), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pa.-05), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.-12), Robin Kelly (D-Ill.02), Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.-07), Andre Carson (D-Ind.-07), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.-03), and Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.-10) co-sponsored the legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Text of the Gun Records Restoration and Preservation Act can be found HERE