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Disclaimer: The author of this site maintained the campaign weblog of John Kline's opponent in the 2006 election, which made Congressman Kline a bit testy.

As with all blogs, review the facts carefully and draw your own conclusions.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Walls

[Disclaimer: This post was first published on Coleen Rowley's campaign weblog.]

In the July 17 online edition of the Pioneer Press, Ruben Rosario discussed two gun bills (HR 5005, HR 5092) which John Kline is co-sponsoring. It sounds like these bills are tougher on law enforcement than they are are criminals.

Between them, these bills would:
  • Restrict public and, in most cases, law enforcement access to federal gun tracing data.
  • Eliminate the requirement that dealers inform local and state authorities about multiple gun sales.
  • Water down penalties for dealer violations. One proposal places a $15,000 cap on fines in spite of numerous violations.
  • Restrict access of federal gun trace information "when it pertains to the geographic jurisdiction of the law enforcement agency or prosecutor requesting the disclosure."
  • And the kicker: Up to five years in prison for any police officer who shares federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms gun trace data with another officer or agency.

Nearly everyone agrees that the perceived "wall" between counter-terrorism units and criminal law enforcement agencies was a significant obstacle to preventing the 9/11 attacks, and that we need to tear down such walls. Yet John Kline is pushing to erect more walls when it comes to tracking firearms. Even the Bush Justice Department agrees that these bills will make it more difficult for police officers to do their jobs.

Rosario rightly declares that " . . . those who back these bills outright as drafted should have their tails between their legs." The Minnesota Association of Police Chiefs opposes the legislation, and Chaska police Chief Scott Knight calls it "completely nuts" insisting that those who support these bills are lackeys of the gun lobby.

John Kline has accepted, to date, $31,750 in campaign contributions from the National Rifle Association.

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