Repeal the Tiahrt amendment on gun background checks

During the Clinton administration, the FBI had access to records of gun background checks for up to 180 days. But in 2003, Congress began requiring that the records be destroyed within 24 hours. This requirement, one of the many restrictions on gun data sponsored by Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.), meant that Hasan’s investigators were blocked from searching records to determine whether he or other terrorist suspects had purchased guns. When Hasan walked out of Guns Galore in Killeen, Tex., the FBI had only 24 hours to recognize and flag the record — and then it was gone, forever.

As former FBI agent Brad Garrett has said, “The piece of information about the gun could have been critical. One of the problems is that the law sometimes restricts you in what you can do.”

The Tiahrt amendments passed by Congress interfere with preserving, sharing and investigating data on gun purchases by terrorist suspects. If that weren’t bad enough, Congress has also failed to close a gap in federal law that prevents the FBI from blocking a sale to an individual under investigation for terrorist activity.