Transplanted Masshole and former federal prosecutor Adam Schiff.
Schiff wants more oversight of ATF.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Pasadena, wants the federal government to exert more oversight on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives by giving Congress the ability to request gun trace information.
The Schiff request - in the form of a rider to an appropriations bill - comes in the wake of revelations about Operation Fast and Furious.
Under the program ATF agents were instructed to allow guns purchased by known criminals to be illegally trafficked across the border to Mexico in an effort to connect those guns to drug cartels.
The operation resulted in hundreds of guns being transferred to cartels, which were later found at crime scenes and submitted into the U.S. eTrace system, which stores gun-trace data and is maintained by the ATF. However, due to a rider that has been a feature of Appropriations bills since 2003, known as the Tiahrt Amendment, the ATF cannot provide that data to any entity other than a law enforcement agency, Schiff said in a statement posted on his website.
"Operation Fast and Furious, which resulted in the deaths of both American and Mexican citizens, exemplifies the need to do away with regulations that handicap Congress' oversight responsibilities," Schiff said. "Trace data is critically important to both law enforcement operations that target gun traffickers, as well as to the congressional oversight of those operations."
U.S. lawmakers attempting to gain information about the program and the guns it circulated were forced to ask the Mexican government for trace information.
"It is ludicrous that Congress would need to ask a foreign government to request documents in the possession of a U.S. agency, the ATF," Schiff said. "This amendment would facilitate the investigation of Fast and Furious and restore Congress' ability to do adequate oversight. If the committee is unwilling to untie the Congress' hands, I would hope the full House will."