Newsom joins Mayors Against Illegal Guns

Mayor Gavin Newsom and District Attorney Kamala Harris gave public support to a national effort lead by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to repeal legislation that limits a local government’s access to federal information that traces gun sales and ownership.

A bipartisan campaign brought about by Mayors Against Illegal Guns wants to prevent criminals from illegally obtaining guns by cracking down on gun dealers. It also is pushing for law enforcement to be able toshare information more easily.

Currently, law enforcement agencies can get limited trace data during the course of a criminal investigation. Local municipalities say access to the aggregate data collected by the federal government would help them investigate trends such as which gun dealers most frequently sell guns used in crimes or which people frequently buy guns used in crimes.

The law, known as the “Tiahrt Amendment,” after its sponsor, Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan., protects the safety of law enforcement officers and the privacy rights of legal gun owners, according to its supporters, which include the National Rifle Association and the Fraternal Order of Police. Since 2003, it has been attached to the bill that funds the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Bloomberg has rallied more than 200 mayors nationwide to pressure Congress to end the Tiahrt Amendment. The matter is expected to come up for a vote in the coming days.

“Legal, illegal, the reality is we’ve got to get guns off the streets,” Newsom said, noting that from 2005 to 2006, police officers seized more than 2,200 guns. “The reality is there’s thousands and thousands of more weapons out there.” Last month, Newsom and Harris introduced new local gun legislation aimed at keeping guns from getting into criminals’ hands.

The legislation would create a local registry of gun offenders convicted in The City, require handguns within a residence to be kept in a locked container, prohibit the possession or sale of firearms on property controlled by The City and require licensed firearms dealers to give police an inventory of firearms every six months.

beslinger@examiner.com

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