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Access Denied: How the Gun Lobby is Depriving Police, Policy Makers, and the Public of the Data We Need to Prevent Gun Violence

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2013
22 pages
This report by Mayors Against Illegal Guns describes the ways in which the Washington gun lobby (the National Rifle Association) has kept the Nation from being informed about the dire consequences of gun violence for public health and public safety.
Beginning in 2003, the National Rifle Association (NRA) persuaded Congress to impose restrictions on how cities and elected officials can use and share the information they collect on guns used in crimes. These so-called "Tiahrt Amendments" also bar the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) from using an electronic database to organize the millions of records it holds, forcing the agency charged with enforcing gun laws in the Information Age to use a paper-based filing system. The gun lobby also inserted into President Obama's health care reform law a provision that forbids Federal health programs from collecting or disclosing information about firearm ownership. This report recommends that elected officials remove "policy riders" on Federal appropriations bills that limit firearms research at the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health and provide appropriate funding for the study of the role of firearms in relation to public health. In addition, the Federal Government should fully fund the National Violent Death Reporting System and expand it to all 50 States, so as to improve the public's understanding of the role firearms play in fatalities. Another recommendation is that the U.S. Justice Department resume the publication of reports on illegal gun markets and trafficking patterns. Other recommendations are to rescind the Tiahrt Amendments and expand the bulk sale reporting program for assault weapons to include all 50 States. 101 references