The federal government need not release statistics on guns used in suicides or attempted suicides, ruled the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, reversing a victory for gun-regulation advocates, reports Courthouse News Service. Seeking such information as part of a push to curb gun violence, the group Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund demanded that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives disclose records under the Freedom of Information Act. ATF argued that Congress specifically blocked access to the Firearms Trace System database, citing the so-called Tiahrt Riders, first adopted in the early 2000s and updated in 2012.
A federal judge had ordered ATF to release records to Everytown. The appeals court said the congressional action exempts the data from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. The opinion was written by Judge Steven Menashi, an appointee of President Donald Trump. Everytown’s Alla Lefkowitz said that the ruling “dramatically weakens the OPEN FOIA Act of 2009, which was passed precisely to ensure that the government would not keep information pertaining to favored industries secret.” Everytown said it wanted the data “to work on policies to prevent American gun violence, and that includes suicide.”