The Tiahrt Amendment, Public Law 112-55, 125 Stat. 609-610, generally prohibits the ATF from disclosing trace data, and records required to be maintained or reported by federal firearms licensees pursuant to the Gun Control Act, such as acquisition and disposition records, Form 4473s, and multiple sale reports.  Exceptions are made for disclosure to law enforcement agencies for use in criminal investigations and prosecutions, and to federal agencies for national security and intelligence purposes.  The Tiahrt Amendment also states that the above types of data are not subject to discovery or subpoena, and are not admissible into evidence in any civil case in state or federal court.
Bills have recently been introduced in both the Senate, the Tiahrt Restrictions Repeal Act, S. 3299, and the House of Representatives, the Gun Records Restoration and Preservation Act, H.R. 5917, which would repeal the above provisions in the Tiahrt Amendment.  The Senate bill would add a new provision prohibiting the disclosure of the above information if it would be exempt from disclosure pursuant to certain of the exceptions to requests for information pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act.  The House version would not impose any restrictions on the release of the information.  The above bills would also repeal provisions in federal law prohibiting the ATF from requiring federal firearms licensees from conducting a physical inventory of firearms, and requiring the FBI to destroy records of approved NICS checks within 24 hours. 
The above bills are both sponsored by Democrats and do not have any Republican co-sponsors.  Similar bills seeking to repeal the Tiahrt Amendment have been repeatedly introduced in Congress and have not been successful.  As long as the Republicans maintain control of the Senate and White House, these bills are unlikely to be enacted into law.  The primary purpose of the repeal of the Tiahrt Amendment is to allow the information to be released to gun control groups and plaintiffs in civil lawsuits, because existing exemptions already provide necessary access to law enforcement and other government agencies with a bona fide need for the information.
Renzulli Law Firm, LLP will continue to monitor the above legislation, as well as efforts to repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.  If you have any questions concerning the above legislation, or laws to prevent frivolous lawsuits against the firearms industry based on the criminal or unlawful misuse of firearms by third parties, please contactJohn F. Renzulli or Christopher Renzulli.