Mike Honda pushes for gun-trace rules reform

Rep. Mike Honda has led 42 other House members in urging the Obama administration to omit from its budget amendments that block law enforcement from being able to track firearms used in crime.

The Tiahrt Amendments are a set of policy riders that have been attached, for the last nine years, to annual appropriations bills. They prohibit the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives from requiring licensed gun dealers to perform inventory checks; require that background check records be destroyed within 24 hours; and limit state and local law enforcement authorities’ access and use of ATF gun trace data.

The lawmakers sent a letter Tuesday to Jeffrey Zients, acting director of the White House Office of Management and Budget.

“While pharmacies and other fields are required to check for inventory, guns are not. As a result, the restrictive Tiahrt Amendments have allowed thousands of guns to cross our border or to be purchased illegally without any oversight. These guns are now killing innocent Americans and limiting investigations by authorities,” Honda, a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science, said in a news release.

“I have worked for years on the Appropriations Committee to repeal these amendments and believe that now is finally the time to put common sense reforms in place to stop the flow of illegal guns and end the violence,” he said. “We must now ensure that the FY14 budget is clean of this language, which has never had a floor vote or a full debate.”

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, among the signatories of Honda’s letter, said the amendments “block access to vital information that lawmakers, police-officers, and federal agencies need to begin to tackle the epidemic of gun violence in our communities. We must treat gun violence for what it is: a public health epidemic, and no one would ever stop the Centers for Disease Control from tracking data on heart disease.”

Others signing the letter include Reps. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo; Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael; and Rep. Sam Farr, D-Santa Cruz.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RR Senile Columnist

    Sheriff Lee: Stop and Frisk on reasonable suspicion in high-crime areas. Howzat fer gun control and background checks? Call it foreground checking.

  • JohnW

    I’m all for Stop and Frisk, but it’s a more effective business plan to stop the guns from getting to the street in the first place. Lots of times, gang members don’t keep guns on their person. They have hiding places where the guns are kept until they get ready to use them. There is even the gun equivalent of “share a ride,” where guns are kept in hiding and used by multiple gang members.

    Gun lobby says “enforce the laws that are on the books” and then pays off Congress to pass Tiahrt and similar provisions to make sure law enforcement agencies aren’t able to enforce the laws that are on the books.

    Gun trafficking in the U.S. is Fast & Furious gun-walking on steroids.