Tiahrt blasts mayors group and KAKE TV for illegal guns campaign

U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt is in a showdown with a coalition of mayors (none of which are in Kansas) who say his amendment to a bill in 2003 prohibits public access to a database that tracks all firearms recovered at crime scenes. (See The Eagle’s story for more details.) And the national campaign has been localized this week.

A drive-by bill board has been sweeping through downtown, television ads have aired and today there was a full page ad in The Eagle — all urging Tiahrt to repeal the amendment. Though Tiahrt acknowledges some clarifications could be added to the bill, he stands by it, saying it protects undercover officers. And he blasted the Mayors Against Illegal Guns group that has opened a major campaign against the amendment and KAKE-TV for airing ads.

“We might expect this from the New York Times or an East Coast liberal media outlet with an agenda, but it is very disappointing that KAKE has decided to run this misleading ad,” wrote Tiahrt communications director Chuck Knapp in a statement this week. Since The Eagle ran a print ad from the same group, it seems likely Tiahrt is also upset with the newspaper. (See the New York Times’ editorial on the issue that ran in their Sunday edition and a piece by the New York police commissioner in the paper.)

Washington reporter David Goldstein reported the base of the argument like this: “Tiahrt and others say the restrictions are necessary because disclosure could reveal names of undercover officers and informants, or tip off targets involved in investigations related to those weapons. (New York Mayor Michael) Bloomberg and more than 200 other mayors counter that the restrictions handcuff their efforts against violent crime where illegal guns are involved because they can’t trace their source.”

For more, see the Mayors Against illegal Guns site and Tiahrt’s response to the campaign.