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President Obama takes positive first step to reform guns laws


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President’s budget reforms Tiahrt Amendments to provide local law enforcement with access to ATF crime gun trace data; recent incidents highlight need for action

Mayor Thomas M. Menino today acknowledged President Obama’s courageous leadership for taking an important first step at a national level to address the issue of illegal guns and law enforcement access to crime gun trace data. In releasing the Department of Justice’s fiscal year 2010 budget, the White House revised language associated with the Tiahrt Amendments, provisions attached to the federal budget that currently make it harder for law enforcement officers to aggressively pursue criminals that buy and sell illegal guns. Since 2006, Mayor Menino and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg have called for the repeal of the Tiahrt Amendment as co-chairs of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

The revised provisions remove certain barriers to state and local access to crime gun trace data provided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), allowing data to be shared among local law enforcement agencies. The new language would enable state and local law enforcement to have more access to aggregated trace data to analyze gun trafficking networks and patterns. The White House budget leaves unchanged the Tiahrt Amendments’ restrictions that prevent the ATF from requiring gun dealers to conduct inventory inspections to detect lost and stolen guns and a requirement that the FBI destroy gun background check records within 24 hours. Both restrictions inhibit law enforcement’s ability to detect illegal straw purchases and guns lost and stolen from gun dealers – two methods that allow criminals to acquire guns.

“President Obama has taken a positive first step toward providing local law enforcement with the tools they need to keep illegal guns off of our streets and out of the hands of criminals,” Mayor Menino said. “These reforms are a sign of progress to removing obstacles that currently make it harder for police officers to protect our residents. I’m encouraged by the President’s actions, and we will continue to work with leaders in Washington and mayors across the U.S. to take further steps to stem the flow of illegal guns in our communities. We have a responsibility to do all that we can to reduce the impact of senseless gun violence.”

Recent incidents in Boston, including this morning’s tragic shooting involving a 15 year-old victim from Roxbury, underscore the need for collaborative efforts to combat illegal gun violence. Mayor Menino is urging anyone with information regarding this matter to call the Boston Police Department’s Homicide Unit at 617-343-4470. Individuals wishing to remain anonymous may contact CrimeStoppers at 1-800-494-TIPS. Individuals may also text “TIP” to CRIME (27463).

For more information about the Tiahrt Amendments and the work of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, visit

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