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Collins, Bipartisan Colleagues Introduce Legislation to Combat Illegal Straw Purchasing and Firearms Trafficking

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins joined Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) in introducing the Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act, bipartisan legislation to combat straw purchasing and illegal trafficking in firearms in order to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals.


“Straw purchasing is intended to achieve one result: to put a gun in the hands of a criminal who cannot legally obtain one.  Traffickers, in particular, exploit weaknesses in federal law by targeting people who can lawfully purchase guns. Then, those traffickers use those guns to commit crimes or sell them to other criminals.  This practice also fuels the opioid epidemic that is taking a devastating toll on all of our communities,” said Senator Collins.  “Police officers in Maine tell me about the familiar patterns they see: drug dealers and gang members, often from out-of-state and with criminal records, cross into Maine and approach drug addicts to be their straw buyers in exchange for heroin.  Our bill will help keep guns out of the hands of criminals without infringing upon the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.”


The Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act of 2021 would, for the first time, make it an explicit federal crime to act as a straw purchaser of firearms.  The bill would also create penalties for anyone who transfers a firearm with reasonable cause to believe that it will be used in a drug crime, crime of violence, or act of terrorism.  These reforms would help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals and reduce safety risks for law enforcement officers confronting criminals and criminal organizations.  The bill does not affect lawful purchases from federal firearms licensees. 


The legislation is supported by numerous law enforcement organizations, including the Fraternal Order of Police, Major Cities Chiefs Association, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, National Sheriffs’ Association, and the National District Attorneys Association.


Click HERE to read the full text of the bill.