BELLEVUE, WA – Refuting weeks of erroneous assertions and outright fabrications regarding the accessibility of firearms trace data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Acting Director Michael J. Sullivan this week has issued a no-nonsense, detailed explanation affirming that trace data is available for legitimate on-going criminal investigations by law enforcement.
“It’s exactly what we’ve been saying all along,” noted Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation. “Director Sullivan’s refreshing approach to this issue ought to clarify all the misinformation about ATF trace data that has been deliberately and wrongly portrayed as beyond the reach of local police agencies for criminal investigations.

“New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been largely responsible for the spread of erroneous information regarding ATF trace data,” Gottlieb said, “and he needed to be corrected. The federal statute that Bloomberg and his cronies in the Mayors Against Illegal Guns want to overturn is essential to protecting what Sullivan correctly called ‘sensitive data.’ Bloomberg wants access to that information solely for the purpose of mounting harassment lawsuits against law-abiding businesses. It’s got nothing to do with fighting crime, and a lot to do with feeding his own desire for self-aggrandizement.”

In an Op-Ed piece provided to the Scripps Howard news service, Sullivan wrote, “Let me be clear: neither the congressional language nor ATF rules prohibit the sharing of trace data with law enforcement conducting criminal investigations, or place any restrictions on the sharing of trace data with other jurisdictions once it is in the hands of state or local law enforcement. In fact, multi-jurisdictional trace data is also utilized by ATF and shared with fellow law-enforcement agencies to identify firearm-trafficking trends and leads. Additionally, nothing prohibits ATF from releasing our own reports that analyze trace-data trends that could be used by law enforcement.”

“Mayor Bloomberg has been disingenuous at best and deliberately deceitful at worst,” Gottlieb stated. “We’re glad that Mr. Sullivan took the time to set the record straight. We’ve known Bloomberg wasn’t telling the truth since he invented this trace data controversy, and Sullivan’s explanation should close this matter for good.”

The Second Amendment Foundation ( is the nations oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 600,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control. SAF has previously funded successful firearms-related suits against the cities of Los Angeles; New Haven, CT; and San Francisco on behalf of American gun owners, a lawsuit against the cities suing gun makers and an amicus brief and fund for the Emerson case holding the Second Amendment as an individual right.