On December 5, 2007, H.R. 1759: Managing Arson Through Criminal History (“MATCH”) Act of 2007 passed in the House of Representatives by voice vote and is now in the Senate. MATCH would establish guidelines and incentives for U.S. states and territories to establish arsonist registries and require the United States Attorney General (“AG”) to establish a national arsonist registry and notification program. A criminal arsonist would be required to register and keep current his or her information in each jurisdiction where he or she is a resident, an employee or a student. MATCH defines a criminal arsonist as “an individual who is convicted of any criminal offense for committing arson in violation of the laws of the jurisdictions in which such offense was committed or the United States.”
MATCH requires the AG to maintain the National Arsonist Registry, which is a national database at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, with information about each criminal arsonist. The legislation also requires the AG to establish and maintain an internet site that includes relevant information for each criminal arsonist. Law enforcement and fire safety officers would be permitted to obtain information from the internet site regarding each criminal arsonist by using specific searching criteria, such as a zip code or geographical radius.