Todd Tiahrt

Monday, March 1st, 2004

U. S. Representative Todd Tiahrt of Kansas is the designated recipient of the CCRKBA Gun Rights Defender of the Month Award for this month.
 In nominating Congressman Tiahrt for the Award, John Michael Snyder, CCRKBA Public Affairs Director, noted that, “generally, throughout his career in the House of Representatives, Rep. Tiahrt has been an outstanding supporter of the individual Second Amendment civil right of law-abiding American citizens to keep and bear arms.   “In recent months, however, he has distinguished himself in a most significant manner.  He has authored, introduced and promoted successfully an amendment to an omnibus appropriations bill mandating the destruction of NICS records of law-abiding gun purchasers after 24 hours.  The bill, with this Tiahrt Amendment included, passed the House of Representatives late last year.  It passed the Senate and became law just this past January.  This is a tremendous legislative achievement.  Congressman Tiahrt certainly is most deserving of this Award.”
 Prior to Senate consideration of the omnibus crime bill, Rep. Tiahrt received an inquiry about his amendment from KAKE-TV in Wichita, Kansas, and he noted that, “I offered an amendment that was approved on a bipartisan basis in Committee and passed overwhelmingly on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.  The amendment simply calls for the quick destruction of personal records on citizens who have passed firearm purchase background checks.
 “Not only is quick destruction reasonable, it is consistent with the Brady Act and the original intent of Congress.  It was the Clinton Administration that thwarted the will of Congress and trampled on personal freedom by holding on to these records for 180 days.  The time period was later cut in half, and my amendment calls for destruction within 24 hours, which is the timeframe agreed to by the FBI, requested by the U.S. Department of Justice and supported by the (Bush) Administration.”
 In an interview with the Associated Press, Rep. Tiahrt said that, “for us law-abiding citizens, there is no need to have this database.  It is a freedom issue.  It is a privacy issue.”  He noted that guns mistakenly sold to felons can still be traced through records that must be maintained by federally licensed firearm dealers. 
 A number of the professional gun-grabbing spokesmen and politicians voiced outrage over the Tiahrt Amendment.  As Rep. Tiahrt himself pointed out, “gun control advocates cite a Government Accounting Office (GAO) study as proof that a delay is warranted.  According to the Kansas City Star, the GAO report found the FBI revoked the initial approvals of 235 gun purchases within a six month period.  In an average six month period, 4.4 million background checks are performed (source: FBI website), meaning .00005 percent of the checks were revoked, which is hardly an alarming rate.  But more importantly, opponents of the amendment fail to place blame where it appropriately should rest.  The problems are with the national check system and in the judicial reporting system, which has been slow in processing domestic violence convictions.”
 One of the people who spoke out against the Tiahrt Amendment was Peter Hamm of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, known previously for some time as Handgun Control, Inc.  He said that, “there are unfortunately a lot of records in this country that are not entered into the national instant check system fast enough.”  Hamm added that, “what you literally have is the computer flagging, three or four days or weeks later, that somebody who had been approved to purchase a gun in some community has a domestic violence watch order on him, or has been involuntarily committed for issues of mental instability.”
 Congressman Tiahrt said chances are very low that someone will slip through the system one day.  “When you think that out of four million transactions, a couple hundred were missed, we’ve got a pretty good system,” he said.  “When you look at weighing how retaining the records imposes on law-abiding private citizens, I think it’s a small, negligible risk.  There is no proof of any crime being committed by people that did have a firearm for some period of time when they shouldn’t have had access to it.”
 Todd began serving in Congress in 1995.  He had attended the South Dakota School of Mine and Technology and later transferred to Evangel College where he graduated and met his wife Vicki.  Todd went on to earn his MBA from Southwest Missouri State.  He and Vicki have three children, Jessica, John and Luke.