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Bill would close secrecy loophole for gun-tracking data

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  1. Freedom of Information

    NMU         WASHINGTON, D.C.         Freedom of Information    

Bill would close secrecy loophole for gun-tracking data

  • A new law that prohibits the use of federal funds to process FOI requests for information on gun sellers would be eliminated under a bill by a Maryland congressman.

June 2, 2003 — A bill introduced May 23 by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) would reverse a provision in the 2003 federal budget that prevents the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms from providing Freedom of Information requesters gun sale statistics.

The U.S. Supreme Court was scheduled to hear arguments March 4 as to whether the ATF should be forced to release data that includes the names of gun shops and gun owners whose weapons were eventually traced by law enforcement because they were used in crimes. The Court declined to hear the case after Congress passed a measure that specifically denied the ATF money to fill FOI requests for the information.

“It is mind-boggling that the NRA and its allies are shielding those gun dealers who sell to criminals from public scrutiny,” Van Hollen said in a May 23 press release. “They say they want to enforce the laws already on the books, but then provide cover for those who profit by breaking the law and selling to criminals. Americans would be repulsed to know that their rights under the Freedom of Information Act are being restricted because of political favoritism for the NRA.”

(H.R. 2275) GS

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