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Baltimore Sues A.T.F. For Gun Trace Data

The city of Baltimore sued the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on Monday  for blocking access to data on guns used to commit crimes — information it said was essential for targeting gun violence and identifying sellers who flood the city with weapons, the New York Times reports. Attorneys for the city are arguing that the A.T.F. is adopting an overly narrow reading of a 2003 law, known as the Tiahrt Amendment, which was pushed by the National Rifle Association and blocked public access to gun trace data collected by the federal government on weapons recovered at the nation’s crime scenes. 

“By limiting our ability to deploy effective public safety strategies, the Tiahrt Amendment put forward by N.R.A.-backed politicians and Congress is jeopardizing the lives of residents not just here in Baltimore City, but across these United States of America,” Mayor Brandon M. Scott told reporters on Tuesday in announcing the lawsuit. He said that the trace  information was particularly critical for identifying gun retailers outside the city, in adjacent Baltimore County and elsewhere, whose weapons often end up being used to commit crimes in Baltimore. President Joe Biden has promised to repeal the Tiahrt amendment, but so far those efforts have failed. Gun rights organizations and gun manufacturers have lobbied intensively to block attempts to roll back the amendment, arguing that it would allow federally licensed dealers whose guns inevitably wind up in the wrong hands to be unfairly maligned.


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