Washington - Today, U.S. Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) sent a letter to Michael Sullivan, acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, calling on him to clarify his agreement with New Jersey state officials in sharing crime gun trace information.

On August 15, 2007, ATF and New Jersey announced a Memorandum of Understanding to allow New Jersey state police to receive trace information on guns used in crimes through ATF's eTrace system.

In their letter, Sens. Lautenberg and Menendez called on the ATF to clarify their cooperation with New Jersey by allowing:

Local and county law enforcement agencies, and not just the state police, to access eTrace information for other jurisdictions. New Jersey law enforcement to receive information on guns recovered outside the state. Agencies accessing eTrace information to share that information with other law enforcement agencies.

To read full text of the letter click the following link: http://menendez.senate.gov/pdf/lettertoatfonguntrackingdata081607.pdf

In addition, Lautenberg and Menendez have both fought to repeal the federal Tiahrt Amendment, which places broad restrictions on what information the ATF can release to state and local law enforcement regarding guns used in crimes.

The Tiahrt Amendment also prevents cities from using trace data in state and local civil enforcement actions, including gun license revocations and prevents the ATF from publishing reports that use gun trace data to analyze nationwide gun trafficking patterns.

In the years before the information was restricted, data from the ATF National Trace Center showed that the overwhelming majority of guns used to commit crimes in a number of urban areas originated out of state. In essence, criminals have subverted states with strong gun laws, like New Jersey, by bringing in guns from states with lax laws.

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