Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske is becoming active on issues of federal firearms legislation because gun violence is increasing in Seattle and other major cities, says the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He fears that Congress could weaken laws that allow local and federal law enforcement agencies to investigate gun crimes. Kerlikowske and other police chiefs urged yesterday in Washington that two pending bills be defeated.
One bill that has passed the House would create categories of offenses for gun dealers who violate federal law. The National Rifle Association said the change was needed to give the ATF discretion when “honest mistakes” were made. Critics said the bill provides a loophole for “rogue” gun dealers. A second, more troublesome bill, says Kerlikowske, would prevent the ATF from releasing data to local police departments that would trace guns back to previous owners, sellers, and dealers. The bill is awaiting a vote by the full House.