While most eyes are turned to the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun control this morning, the first bipartisan gun-control bill of the new Congress will be introduced in the upper chamber.
Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) will unveil their Gun Trafficking Prevention Act of 2013 that would for the first time make gun trafficking a federal crime.
Over the past three fiscal years, more than 330,000 guns used in violent gun crimes showed telltale signs of black market trafficking, 420,000 firearms were stolen, and thousands of guns with obliterated serial numbers were recovered by law enforcement, the lawmakers said.
The bill would make it illegal to sell or otherwise transfer 2 or more firearms to someone whom the seller knows, or has reasonable cause to know, is prohibited by law from owning a firearm (e.g. felon, convicted domestic abuser); purchase or otherwise acquire 2 or more firearms if the recipient knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, that such receipt would be in violation of law; or provide false information on a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives firearms transaction record form (e.g. straw purchasing). Exceptions are made for gifts and inheritances.
Harsh penalties proposed by the legislation include a maximum prison penalty of 20 years for the above violations.
Our bipartisan bill will save lives, it is not a Republican or Democratic idea, it is just the right idea,” said Gillibrand. “The absence of any federal law defining gun trafficking in this country is shocking. It is time to give law enforcement the tools they need to keep illegal guns off the streets and out of the hands of dangerous people.”
“Gun trafficking is allowing gangs and violence to flourish in Chicago,” said Kirk. “The Chicago Crime Commission reported that Chicago Police confiscate an average of 13,000 illegal weapons each year. Last summer, gang violence killed 500 men, women and children in Chicago. We must put a stop to this cycle, which is why I have joined with Senator Gillibrand to take serious action to prevent straw purchases and ensure that law enforcement has the tools it needs to crack down on illegal weapons trafficking.”