Donald Trump’s elevation of Mike Pompeo to the director of the CIA has created an opening in Congress, and there’s a committed conservative who’s fighting to fill it: Todd Tiahrt.
Who is Tiahrt? He’s a strong social conservative with a demonstrated record of protecting gun rights and the rights of the unborn. He’s also a heroic advocate for Christians overseas who face persectuion at the hands of Islamic terrorists.
Tiarht first swept into Congress during the Gingrich revolution, and during his time in the Capitol he had an exemplary record as a conservative legislator. There he worked hard to protect the rights of gun owners, passing the Tiahrt Amendment, a bill which prohibits the National Tracing Center of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from releasing information from its firearms trace database to anyone other than a law enforcement agency or prosecutor in connection with a criminal investigation. This precludes gun trace data from being used in academic research of gun use in crime. Additionally, the law blocks any data legally released from being admissible in civil lawsuits against gun sellers or manufacturers. Bills like this frustrate both gun grabbing bureaucrats and those who would politically pressure law abiding American gun owners.
Were that the extent of Tiahrt’s policy accomplishments we’d be encouraged. But there’s more. Tiahrt’s commitment to his constituents, and Christians facing persecution, is downright heroic. Tiahrt worked tirelessly to secure the release of Kansas Christian missionaries who had been kidnapped by Islamic militants. As the Wichita Eagle notes:
But he said the “hallmark” of Tiahrt’s congressional career was his dogged effort to secure the release of Kansas missionary Gracia Burnham, who, with her husband, Martin, and others was captured by Islamic terrorists in 2001 in the Philippines.
She was freed a year later after a raid by the Philippine military, but Martin Burnham was killed.
“She’s alive because of Todd,” Roberts said.
Schlapp, who worked as a White House political aide during that period, said Tiahrt never gave up.
“When Todd wanted help with Gracia Burnham, he burned the phone lines and broke down the doors,” Schlapp said. “He was not going to take ‘no’ for an answer.”
Tiahrt likely faces a tough primary challenge. His opponent, Ron Estes, was a Marco Rubio supporter who will likely have the backing of the political establishment. Still, his record is undeniable. At a time when Republicans hold strong majorities in Congress and the Senate, a veteran lawmaker with Tiahrt’s conservative bona fides could be an absolute asset to the Trump administration.