Menendez, Rothman Introduce Bill to Help Law Enforcement Prosecute Gun Crimes
Legislation Will Make Data from Gun Sales Available to the Public
(Washington, DC) This week, United States Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Congressman Steve Rothman (D-NJ) are introducing legislation to make data about guns used in crime and illegal gun sales public. This information was freely available until 2003, when a legislator from Kansas passed language known as the "Tiahrt Amendment" to prevent the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) from releasing data about the states where most crime guns originate.
"Denying police access to this information about crime gun traces helps no one but the bad guys," said Menendez. "Our families' safety should never take the back seat to the demands of radical interest groups seeking only to further their own narrow agenda. Congress needs to pass my legislation - we need to stand up to President Bush and the gun lobby, and stand up for our families."
"I am 100% with Senator Menendez on this issue," said Rothman. "There is absolutely no good reason to hide gun crime data from the public. I am fighting as a member of the House Appropriations Committee to see that the ATF can and does use its resources to better help prosecutors enforce the gun laws on the books and inform New Jersey's communities about the true scope of gun trafficking."
New Jersey has some of the toughest gun safety laws in the nation, but past crime gun reports show that they are undermined by weak laws in other states. More than 85% of all traced guns used to commit crimes in Jersey City and Newark were originally purchased outside of the state - most often in Florida, Georgia, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, or South Carolina.
"Gun violence, and the illegal gun trafficking that fuels it, is hurting New Jersey's communities," added Rothman. "Concerned parents want to know how criminals are obtaining violent weapons and my legislation would allow us to have this information."