Sunday, July 29, 2007

Protecting Police Officers More Important Than Helping Political Donors, Group Says

Congress should not put the lives of law enforcement officials at risk to benefit its trial lawyer contributors, says Deneen Borelli of the national black group Project 21.

Congress is now considering overturning the Tiahrt Amendment, a measure that restricts certain gun data from being shared outside of the law enforcement community. Project 21 members are opposing any action that allows trial lawyers, politicians, criminals and others from accessing federal gun trace information.

"The only possible purpose served by overturning the Tiahrt Amendment is to aid the anti-gun lobby and make it easier for trial lawyers to sue gun manufacturers," said Project 21 fellow Deneen Borelli. "Killing the Tiahrt Amendment would also be a great thing for criminals. Not only could they learn they are the subject of an investigation, but also the identity of special agents and informants."

The Tiahrt Amendment - named after its chief sponsor, Representative Todd Tiahrt (R-KS) - was first enacted in 2003. It amends the appropriations legislation that funds the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) to restrict the sharing of the contents of the Firearms Trace System that is administered by the BATFE's National Trace Center. Under the terms of the amendment, data regarding guns involved in crimes is restricted to domestic and foreign law enforcement and prosecutors as it relates to the investigation and prosecution of specific crimes and for national security, intelligence and counterterrorism purposes. Trace data is also inadmissible in evidence and cannot be subpoenaed.

Project 21's Borelli added: "I am a gun owner. I was appalled when a local newspaper decided to publish my name and the names of other registered gun owners in my area. It was an outrageous violation of my privacy rights. Overturning the Tiahrt Amendment could allow this violation of privacy and safety to occur on a larger and more dangerous scale."


California: Pistol Packing Pastor Nabs Theft Suspect: "A former Bakersfield police officer turned pastor helped nab a man who allegedly stole a car from his church's parking lot. James Kilgore, pastor at Taft Free Will Baptist Church, said he always keeps a gun and handcuffs in his fanny pack. They came in handy on Tuesday, when one of his elderly parishioners left Bible study to find his car had vanished. Kilgore and Walter Brenton, 72, drove around looking for Brenton's 1986 Ford Crown Victoria, and spotted the alleged thief driving it a few blocks away. The pastor followed the driver until he crashed, tackled him as he crawled out of the car and then handcuffed him until police arrived on the scene. Ronald Lee Allen, 46, of Taft, was arrested on suspicion of grand theft auto and being in possession of stolen property, said Kern County sheriff's Sgt. Martin Downs. "We don't recommend that people try to apprehend suspects, although in this case it worked out really well," Downs said. Kilgore said he was glad to put his law enforcement training to use, but said it was likely God had a role in helping him restrain the suspect.

Alabama homeowner holds thieves at gunpoint until officers arrive: "Stealing three bags of aluminum cans worth a total of $25 can cost more than it pays. That’s what two Athens men learned Friday. Timothy Darnell Maynor, 24, of 17356 Lucas Ferry Road, and Shaun Christopher Holley, 20, of 1703 Edward St., were arrested after the owner of the cans held the two at gunpoint until sheriff’s deputies arrived. “The homeowner came home and found these two guys in his yard stealing the aluminum cans he had collected,” said Limestone County Chief Investigator Stanley McNatt. “He pulled a gun on them and held them until Investigator Josh McLaughlin and Deputy Tim Craig got there.” The arrests led investigators to other thefts the duo may have committed, McNatt said. “When we were questioning them, Investigator Brian Ruble was working a burglary on Poff Lane where two rifles and a back pack were stolen,” he said. “We searched their car and found those stolen items inside the vehicle.” He said the two men were also charged for theft in another home burglary on Poff Lane. Maynor and a companion, Erica King, 31, of 19472 Heron Drive, Athens, are also charged with the burglary of a home last October. Maynor was being held in the Limestone County Jail Friday night on charges of third-degree theft and three counts of third-degree burglary. Holley is charged with third-degree theft and two counts of third-degree burglary. King is charged with third-degree burglary.

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