Friday, December 21, 2012

Kansas NRA stooge, Rep. Todd Tiahrt, helped gun lobby suppress federal gun crime info you paid for

Todd Tiarht in 2011
Former Kansas Rep. Todd Tiarht is best known for his series of amend­­ments introduced to prevent you from knowing certain facts highly inconvenient to the NRA and gunmakers about which guns are involved in what crimes, even though your taxes pay for gathering that information.
     Tiarht accomplished this by introducing legislation to cut funding to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (and the CDC) for releasing even aggregate statistics about, for example, assault rifles used in crimes.
     Below, Tiarht recently criticized President Obama in a tweet for hiding information about the Fast and Furious campaign. What he didn't mention is that the restrictions he introduced in Congress "blocked Congressional oversight of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Explosives & Firearms (ATF) and its controversial 'Operation Fast & Furious.' " by preventing the ATF from releasing trace data connected to Fast & Furious, forcing Congress to request the data from the Mexican Government.
     Mayors against Illegal Guns has, in effect, politely called the former representative a serial liar in a five-page compilation of his misrepresentations about his own Tiahrt Amendments.
Here's an excerpt from yesterday's Fresh Aire in which Tom Diaz explained how Tiarht and the NRA were able to censor the release of government information about guns and crime:
Teri Gross: Is there any research on how these semiautomatic weapons are being used? ...Are people using these [assault weapons] as hunting rifles?
Tom Diaz: ...The direct answer to your question is, because the gun industry and the National Rifle Association have been so very successful in shutting down federal sources of data, for example from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and basically shutting down cogent research from the Centers for Disease Control... we don't really know the extent of the use of these guns in crime because we cannot get even the generic aggregate data. It's been shut down. What we learn from are simply, for example at the Violence Policy Center, we do a lot of anecdotal research.
     I, for example, did a study about assault weapons a couple years ago, but I had to rely entirely on what I could derive from news reports and other public sources. You cannot get that information from government sources because of something called the Tiardt Amendment which has basically shut down ATF from releasing data.
Gross: So, this amendment prevents the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms from releasing information about what guns have been used in crimes? Do I have that right?
Diaz: You have that exactly right.
     When Todd Tiarht was in congress, he did nothing to restrict sales to civilians of 50-caliber armor-piercing rifles used in war zones to take down airplanes and helicopters near landing fields and helicopters.
     Such weapons may now be purchased by disgruntled 18-year-olds anywhere in America, and represent an alarming threat to general and commercial aviation. Every commercial airliner is a potential fuel-bomb, whether in the air, on the tarmac or flying into a skyscaper.
     Today, amazingly, Tiarht works as an "aviation consultant" in Wichita. Among his clients are Boeing, Hawker Beechcraft and Textron (maker of Cessnas).

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