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Baltimore Sues ATF to Get Critical Gun Crime Data

Mayor of Baltimore v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives


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Everytown Law partners with Baltimore City Department of Law and Kramer Levin to sue ATF over its refusal to produce Baltimore gun crime data.

Baltimore, MD – Everytown Law is representing the City of Baltimore in its lawsuit against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”). Baltimore’s complaint alleges that ATF improperly denied its FOIA request for gun crime data. The City sought, among other items, the identity of the top ten sources of crime guns in Baltimore from 2018 to 2022 and the average time-to-crime for guns recovered in Baltimore in connection with homicides, suicides, and other circumstances. 

In its FOIA denial, ATF rejected the City’s request, claiming that a passage buried in the 2012 Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, known colloquially as the “Tiahrt Rider,” barred disclosure of the requested information. The “Tiahrt Rider” restricts ATF’s use of appropriated funds to disclose certain portions of its Firearms Trace System database. ATF interprets the Rider over-broadly to prevent public disclosure of the majority of the data in its database, including to local and state government officials (except law enforcement). But in fact, the Tiahrt Rider is insufficient to bar disclosure under FOIA, as amended by the OPEN FOIA Act of 2009. Through this lawsuit, the City hopes to compel disclosure of this critical data to further the City’s data-driven, targeted approach to countering gun violence in its communities.

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