Monday, July 09, 2007

Chisholm: Uninformed? Milwaukee Magazine Is.

Milwaukee Magazine has a long article about the street-gun trade.

One 'take-away' from the article is that a LOT of the street guns around Milwaukee are stolen, or purchased by straw-buyers (people with no record who are intermediaries.) Shouldn't come as a shock to anyone who can add 2+2 and get 4.

Another 'take-away' is this, from DA Chisholm, moaning about the Tiahrt Amendment:

“You can’t find out where all the crime guns from Milwaukee County are coming from,” says District Attorney John Chisholm. “Even if you compile the data yourself, piece by piece, you can’t share that information with anybody or else it’s a felony offense. It’s just mind boggling.”

Interesting. Here's what the NRA says about the same bill (albeit the 2007 version):

The FY 2007 version of the Tiahrt amendment ensures that trace data is available to federal, state, and local agencies "in connection with and for use in a bona fide criminal investigation or prosecution" or for use in administrative actions by BATFE—which is, of course, the principal agency responsible for overseeing the conduct of federally licensed firearms dealers.The language and history of the Gun Control Act are clear: Congress always intended to keep this information confidential, and to allow its use only for legitimate law enforcement purposes. The firearms trace database includes information such as the agency requesting a gun trace, the location from which the gun was recovered, and the identity of the dealer and original retail buyer.

So the DA must be conducting a "bona fide criminal investigation or prosecution" to get the data. What's the big deal?

Of course, the author of the piece has more than just 'bona fide investigations/prosecutions' in mind. Here's how he phrased the Amendment's effect:

But since 2003, a federal appropriations bill rider championed by Republican Congressman Todd Tiahrt of Kansas has restricted access to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) firearm trace data. That’s right: Municipalities, law enforcement agencies and the public are barred from seeing the data.

"Municipalities" and "the public" should mind their own business. They also don't have any particular right to know who owns what jewelry or other valuables which are of interest to thieves.

Maybe the author simply forgot HOW all those guns got into the hands of criminals who shoot people: THEY WERE STOLEN!

Consider this: even if DA Chisholm were to know the trace data on every single gun used in a crime in Milwaukee (which information he can get from BATFE, legally) he will still conclude that the guns were, largely, stolen.

So what difference does it make?

None. The question is not 'where did it come from.'

The question is: who pulled the trigger?

HT: Chris and Elliot

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