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Old March 28, 2009, 11:58 PM   #1
Tennessee Gentleman
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What Would Happen if the Tiahrt Amendment Was Repealed?

The NRA says that repealing the amendment would lead to frivilous lawsuits.

Since Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act was passed in 2005 aren't distributors and gun manufacturers safe from lawsuit?

Wasn't the NY Gun lawsuit dismissed?

What good does the Tiahrt Amendment do for us?
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Old March 29, 2009, 01:32 AM   #2
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I don't think they're saying that gun makers would be sued, rather the suits would be levied against previous owners of the gun being traced.

In other words, let's say that the information is no longer confidential and some scumbag shoots someone with a gun that used to belong to you. The dead guy's mom/gf hires a lawyer who looks up the information on the gun used in the killing and finds out that you're the last owner of record. So he sues you for letting a gun get into the hands of the scumbag who killed his client's son/bf.

Right now, the information is only available to LE so that can't happen.
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Old March 29, 2009, 11:04 AM   #3
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John I am not a lawyer but I am not sure I see how that would play out. I guess it would depend how I sold the gun.

Also, there are other ways to trace the gun anyway. Didn't the media trace Cho's gun back to the VA gun shop wher he bought it?

If I sell a gun to a gun dealer and he resells it could a murder victim's family sue me? Couldn't they trace it other ways?

The NRA says that statistics would be presented to the public that "they won't understand" and might cause more gun laws to be passed.

Isn't that happening now with the Brady's anti gun stats and the BATFE saying that 90% of the guns used in Mexico are from the US?

I understand the part about investigations but that raises anohter question I have always had about the 1% of bad gun dealers the Brady's say are out there. Namely, why doesn't the BATFE shut them down since they are so small a number. Maybe being able to publish the names of the rogue gun dealers might prompt the BATFE to move quicker?

I am not understanding how this all falls out.
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Old March 29, 2009, 11:20 AM   #4
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I've got to agree with the Gentleman. Admittedly, I never spent much time to figure out what the amendment was, but from a brief glance I couldn't figure out why I should care if it was repealed or not.

I've got to think that it does more than cut-off liability in the event that a gun is legally sold by you or stolen from you.
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Old March 29, 2009, 12:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
...I am not sure I see how that would play out.
How much money and time do you have to deal with being a defendant in a civil suit--even if it's a slam dunk that you'll win it? It was sure hurting the gun manufacturers before the protection law was passed and I'll bet that even a small gun manufacturer has more resources than the average gun owner.

I don't know how they found out where Cho's gun came from--maybe he still had a receipt for it lying around in his apartment or maybe one of his acquaintances told them. Short of that kind of help, I don't know of any other way to trace a gun.

Having the media be able to access the information is a bad idea. We've already got some newspapers publishing information on permit holders so it's reasonable to presume that they'll abuse any other information on gun owners that they can get their hands on.
Quote:
If I sell a gun to a gun dealer and he resells it could a murder victim's family sue me?
Sure, unless you're protected by a law, you can be sued for just about anything. The point is that they currently can't find out who previously owned the gun. That would change if the amendment was repealed.

Ok, I guess I'm really missing something...

Do you guys see a benefit to having the ownership history of a gun being available to anyone who asks--as opposed to just being available to LE as it currently is?

Cause that seems like a really bad idea to me. I can see all kinds of ways that information could be abused.
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Old March 29, 2009, 01:39 PM   #6
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Long term undercover investigations don't need to be compromised by the media and law-suits.
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Old March 29, 2009, 01:57 PM   #7
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John,
Don't get me wrong I don't relish the idea of getting sued for anything. What stumps me is how the Tiarhrt Amendment keeps that from happening. I am not sure it does. Does most case law support today support suing prior owners of murder guns? Maybe a lawyer would know?

The gun manufacturers dealt with it by passing a law to prevent it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnKSa
The point is that they currently can't find out who previously owned the gun.
I think they can regardless of Tiarht as I mentioned there are other ways to do it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnKSa
I can see all kinds of ways that information could be abused.
And that is what I am asking how that would happen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alloy
Long term undercover investigations don't need to be compromised by the media and law-suits.
How does that happen?

I guess it appears to me that Tiarht was put in place originally to protect gun manufacturers from lawsuits like the one NY City started 9 or 10 years ago. So, Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act in 2005 and stopped those suits (took awhile to reach Supreme Court) so that issue is now moot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnKSa
Do you guys see a benefit to having the ownership history of a gun being available to anyone who asks
Not sure why it should be private. Heck, all kinds of things I buy are available to the public if they want to buy the list aren't they?
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Old March 29, 2009, 02:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
What stumps me is how the Tiarhrt Amendment keeps that from happening. I am not sure it does.
Because of the Tiarht amendment no one but law enforcement can easily find out that you were a prior owner of a particular gun. Because they don't know who you are they can't sue you.
Quote:
I think they can regardless of Tiarht as I mentioned there are other ways to do it.
Name one other method that would allow a person to compile a list of everyone who's ever bought or sold a crime gun/traced gun from/to an FFL holder.

In specific cases there might be ways to find out about a gun if you could interview friends, etc. "Yeah, I think he bought that from so&so/such & such shop." But there's currently no general way to trace a gun back without accessing records that are currently not accessible to anyone but LE.
Quote:
Not sure why it should be private.
  • Because you can be sued by a nutcase if he can find out you owned a pistol used in a crime against him or a family member.
  • Because it allows people to compile and publish lists of gun owners.
  • Because it gives the public access to information that may compromise ongoing LE investigations.
  • Because everyone who actually NEEDS the data already has access to it.
Quote:
Does most case law support today support suing prior owners of murder guns?
Unless you have protection under a law (like the one that protects gun manufacturers) you can be sued by anyone for practically anything. They don't have to win to damage you.
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Old March 29, 2009, 02:14 PM   #9
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Well, this investigation was run out of one teeny gun store with a few federal employees. Im sure it would have been easier to catch the first bear hunter and create a public sensation about where he bought his rifle and then shut the store down. That isn't how the gov likes to do things, and this investigation took 6 years. They like the big numbers.

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A total of 487 state violations (193 felonies and 294 misdemeanors) and 204 federal violations (99 felonies and 105 misdemeanors) have been documented against over 100 individuals in seven states, the District of Columbia and one foreign country.
http://home.nps.gov/applications/rel...ail.cfm?ID=451
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Old March 29, 2009, 02:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnKSa
Because of the Tiarht amendment no one but law enforcement can find out that you were a prior owner of a particular gun.
I don't think that is true. There are other ways to find out as I state below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnKSa
Name one other method that would allow a person to rapidly compile a list of everyone who's ever bought a gun from an FFL holder.
Not sure the nutcase you speak of would need the entire list from the FFL holder. He would just need to get the one transaction that applied to him. He could ask the perp, the FFL might even tell him. I mentioned that they found out (without Tiarht probably through FOIA) where Cho bought the weapon and can subpoena the Gun Store for his records in a lawsuit to find out if another owned the firearm prior to Cho.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnKSa
you can be sued by anyone for practically anything
Yes and Tiarht won't stop that either. As I have demonstrated there are other ways to get the info. Couldn't it be covered under existing FOIA exemptions at least for the investigations?
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Old March 29, 2009, 02:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
I mentioned that they found out (without Tiarht probably through FOIA) where Cho bought the weapon and can subpoena the Gun Store for his records in a lawsuit to find out if another owned the firearm prior to Cho.
FOIA will not allow someone to get that information. That's the whole point of Tiarht. I don't know how they found out about Cho's gun, but they didn't get it LEGALLY from the government. If they DID get the information from a government "leak" the Tiarht amendment makes it inadmissable in a civil case. My guess is that they asked an acquaintance and the acquaintance told them where he got it.

I don't know if 4473 information can be subpoenad from an FFL holder, but even if it can, you'd have to know WHICH FFL holder to start with. Other than in specific situations you'd have no idea which FFL holder was concerned. With access to the trace information you could get that information easily.
Quote:
As I have demonstrated there are other ways to get the info.
Not in general. In specific cases it might be possible to find out. FOIA will not do it.

In other words, if you want information about a SPECIFIC gun you might be able to track it down with footwork getting information from sources OTHER THAN the government. Without Tiarht you could just ask the BATF for the information.

FURTHERMORE, without Tiahrt you could ask for a list of all the traced guns and go on a fishing expedition to see if anyone with deep pockets had, at one time, owned a gun used in a murder/injury/crime.

By the way, without getting into all the nitty gritty details, the best way you know that the Tiahrt amendment is a valuable law is that the antis are working hard to get it overturned/removed.

The correct spelling is 'Tiahrt'. I've spelled it wrong several times above but I'm not going to go back and fix all the errors.
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Last edited by JohnKSa; March 29, 2009 at 02:35 PM. Reason: Added note on spelling.
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Old March 29, 2009, 02:43 PM   #12
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John the Tiahrt Amendment was passed in 2003. Were the lawsuits you speak of (not including the ones against manufacturer) and gun owner lists commonplace or happening at all before the bill was enacted? If what you believe is true and all these lawsuits might happen, did they happen before 2003?

I think the Tiahrt Amendment was in response to lawsuits against gun manufacturers and not individual citizens, which I am not sure was happening as you suggest they might if it were repealed today.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnKsa
the best way you know that the Tiahrt amendment is a valuable law is that the antis are working hard to get it overturned/removed.
John, you have read my posting enough to know I am no purist/absolutist so waving the Bradys et al at me doesn't fly. I don't think that is thoughtful and I never liked the old saying "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" either. Actually, I don't hate and disagree with everything they say (most of it for sure) nor do I believe them to be satanic or always wrong.
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Old March 29, 2009, 02:46 PM   #13
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...waving the Bradys et al at me doesn't fly.
Ok, but does that mean you're going to completely dismiss the comment? Without even seeing WHO is trying to overturn it and WHY? I think that the answer to those two questions would go a LONG way toward answering your questions and it puzzles me a bit that you don't seem to be the least bit interested...
Quote:
I think the Tiahrt Amendment was in response to lawsuits against gun manufacturers...
The gun manufacturer lawsuits don't require trace information because it's easy to tell which manufacturer made a particular gun.

They all stamp their name right on it.
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Old March 29, 2009, 02:49 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnKsa
The gun manufacturer lawsuits don't require trace information
Maybe but I think they used it when it started in 2000?
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Old March 29, 2009, 02:54 PM   #15
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The amendment prohibits the BATFE from releasing data to anyone outside of LE conducting an investigation.

Why should anyone outside of that have access to the data?
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Old March 29, 2009, 02:56 PM   #16
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Quote:
Maybe...
Maybe you don't need trace information to figure out which company made a gun? Where, exactly, does the element of doubt enter into it?
Quote:
...but I think they used it when it started in 2000?
Why would they do that? Is the name stamped on the side of a gun not sufficient proof of who made a particular gun?
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Old March 29, 2009, 03:07 PM   #17
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What the people who want to repeal the Tiarht amendment want to do is go on witch hunts through records looking for anything.

Do you really want Bloomberg's cronies showing up at your door harrassing you trying to find out who you sold some gun to 5 years ago because it showed up in NYC?
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Old March 29, 2009, 04:48 PM   #18
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OK, let me try to better explain my (probably wrong) theory and then you all can have at me.

I believe that the current Administration is going to repeal this amendment. They seem to have the votes to do it and President Obama has said he wants to do it. So, I believe there is a very good chance this will happen.

I am interested in what the impact on we gun owners will be.

I hope that clears up what I am asking.
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Old March 29, 2009, 04:50 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnKSa
Why would they do that? Is the name stamped on the side of a gun not sufficient proof of who made a particular gun?
I think they tried to show IIRC that the Gun Manufacturers sold to gun stores they suspected to be shady and having the trace data helped them make that case. Also, it linked the gun specifically to the crime.
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Old March 29, 2009, 05:25 PM   #20
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I think the impact can best be summed up by the incidents that helped get the trace data removed from public consumption in the first place. VPC used to regularly publish a "Top 10 Crime Guns" list based on ATF trace data made available to the public. This was regularly reprinted by "news" organizations like Newsweek and Time even though several pro-RKBA academics and the ATF itself pointed out that just because a trace request was made for a particular firearm, didn't necessarily mean it was involved directly or indirectly in a crime.

If just the trace aspect of the Tiarht Amendment is removed, then you can expect to see more of that again. However, the Tiarht Amendment also codified the 24-hr destruction of legitimate purchases in NICS records and also loosened restrictions on some FFLs to make it easier for small FFLs. If they completely reversed it, that would hurt.
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Old March 29, 2009, 08:10 PM   #21
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I read the OP and went no farther.

Would you want your (previously owned and sold) car to traced to you so that the victim (or the surviving family) of a driving drunk could sue you for providing (unknowingly) a method of (very effective) homicide even though you did not push the gas pedal and you did your best to weed out any possibility of a sale to a bad motorist?

Now, do you really think killing Tihart is a good idea?
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Old March 29, 2009, 08:18 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cold dead hands
I read the OP and went no farther.
read post #18 please.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cold dead hands
Would you want your (previously owned and sold) car to traced to you so that the victim (or the surviving family) of a driving drunk could sue you for providing (unknowingly) a method of (very effective) homicide even though you did not push the gas pedal and you did your best to weed out any possibility of a sale to a bad motorist?
Is that what you think repealing Tiahrt would bring on? Why did that not happen before 2003 or did it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cold dead hands
Now, do you really think killing Tihart is a good idea?
Never said it was a good idea.
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Old March 29, 2009, 08:38 PM   #23
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Quote:
read post #18 please.
Ok. I get what you are asking.

The short of the long is that our current form of government is going to stick it gun owners any way they can.

If they can cause one person to be afraid of BUYING and (maybe) selling a gun for fear of a frivolous lawsuit that will cost time and money (and most certainly defamation of character in the news) they have taken one more baby step in the disarming of the populace.

It goes like this on the nightly news...

"Tonight. A family man was shot and killed. We learned that the GUN was originally owned by Person A who decided to upgrade. He sold it Person B. Person B had a Friend who wanted to sell it Person C. Person C trusted his friend and his friend had no clue that his perspective buyer was prohibited from owning a GUN".

"Person A now faces a bigillion dollar lawsuit by the victims survivors for originally putting the GUN on THE STREETS".

"Person B and Friend are also being sued for enabling a murderer".

Is this how you want an exchange of personal property to go down?

Whenever you ask about a gun issue and want a solid answer...substitute the word "car" for "gun"...and then ask again. It really becomes much clearer after that.
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Old April 1, 2009, 02:45 PM   #24
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For what it is worth, the Fraternal Order of Police website stated that they were adamantly opposed to repeal of the Tihart Amendment when the issue came up last year. There reasons were that repeal would allow lawyers and grandstanding politicians to disclose information that might compromise ongoing investigations and that it might also put undercover officers at risk. Let me point out two further things. First, the Brady Campaign website completely misrepresented the FOP's position on the issue, saying that FOP wanted it repealed. Second, the FOP is composed of street cops, not police chiefs who serve at the whim of politicians and have to play the politicians' game to keep their job.
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Old April 1, 2009, 06:20 PM   #25
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I can think of no good reason to repeal it.

Given that the media routinely use all information available to them to cast gun ownership in a negative light (and some information that they just make up), why would they suddenly change their pattern, given the access to new data?

Quote:
- Because it allows people to compile and publish lists of gun owners.
This is the one I'd most expect the media to do. If that info is public domain, there is nothing to stop a reporter with an agenda from using it toward that end.

It's bad enough the way the media behave when someone discovers a "cache" of "dangerous gunpowder"... a guy who reloads... and they sensationalize it as this terrible threat to the stability of some community. Even if no one has committed a crime.
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