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The Obama administration, the Tiahrt Amendment, and 'Project Gunwalker'

Former Congressman Tiahrt brings up some interesting questions
Official U.S. government photo/public domain

Could the Obama administration's approach to dealing with the "Tiahrt Amendment" shed some light on "Project Gunwalker"? The Tiahrt Amendment refers to a series of amendments to spending bills every year, starting in 2004, filed by former United States Representative Todd Tiahrt (R-KS), restricting the release of firearms trace data to law enforcement agencies only, and only as part of criminal investigations. Lifting this restriction has been a huge priority of the Brady Campaign, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and every other "gun control" group, because the amendment makes suing the gun industry out of existence much more difficult.

Another vocal opponent of the Tiahrt Amendments was then-candidate Obama:

Obama and Biden would repeal the Tiahrt Amendment, which restricts the ability of local law enforcement to access important gun trace information, and give police officers across the nation the tools they need to solve gun crimes and fight the illegal arms trade.

Never mind for now that the Tiahrt Amendment does not restrict "the ability of local law enforcement to access important gun trace information"--the point here is that, much to the Brady Campaign's dismay, the Obama administration did not make a serious push to repeal the Tiahrt Amendment in 2009. A Western Center for Journalism article tells us what they changed instead:

Then, although Barack Obama and Eric Holder had promised liberal supporters they would fight to overturn the Tiahrt Amendment, in the spring of 2009 Holder lobbied Congress for a change to the Amendment, one which would allow ATF acquired trace data to be provided to “a foreign law enforcement agency solely in connection with or for use in a criminal investigation or prosecution."

Two questions here--why break his promise to the gun ban lobby, and back off efforts to repeal the amendment; and why that change, specifically? Let's go right out on a limb, and posit that the answer to the first question is not that Obama suddenly changed his mind about his long-held hostility toward private gun ownership.

Remember that at this time, Operation Fast and Furious was only a few months away from commencing. Sharing the trace data with Mexico might have seemed a good idea--all the better to show them the guns pouring in from Phoenix (and Houston, etc.?).

At the same time, the entire repeal of the amendment might have been problematic--if the general public noticed the sharpness of the spike in trafficked guns, and the highly concentrated nature of the source stores, uncomfortable questions might have been asked.

As it turns out, of course, those questions are being asked anyway, but only because of some courageous whistleblowers and the tireless efforts of two members of the "new media." If not for that, though, keeping the Tiahrt Amendment in place might have seemed a master stroke for an administration wishing to hide its own gun trafficking.

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