Sen. Mark Kirk and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) on Wednesday introduced bipartisan legislation that would, for the first time, make gun trafficking a federal crime.
"Gun trafficking is allowing gangs and violence to flourish in Chicago," Kirk said in a statement posted to his Senate website. ""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."
At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Kirk's colleague in the Senate, Dick Durbin, said that most of the guns used in Chicago crimes flow into the city from Mississippi. The bill proposed by Kirk and Gillibrand aims to stop that flow.
The Gun Trafficking Prevention Act of 2013 would empower local, state, and federal law enforcement to investigate and prosecute gun traffickers and their entire criminal networks, including gangs, cartels and organized crime rings.
Specifically the bill will make it illegal to:
- Sell or otherwise transfer two or more firearms to someone whom the seller knows, or has reasonable cause to know, is prohibited by federal, state or local laws from owning a firearm (e.g. felon, convicted domestic abuser).
- Purchase or otherwise acquire two or more firearms if the recipient knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, that such receipt would be in violation of any federal, state, or local law (e.g. if the recipient is a prohibited owner).
- Provide false information on a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives firearms transaction record form (e.g. straw purchasing).
- Knowingly facilitate the above actions.
- Exceptions are made for gifts and inheritances, so long as the giver and recipient are not prohibited by federal, state or local law from owning a firearm.
Correction: A previous version of this article misspelled Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's name. This post was originally published Jan. 30, 2013.