Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act Would Help Law Enforcement Agencies Keep Guns Out Of The Hands Of Criminals
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) introduced legislation to close loopholes that criminals exploit to obtain firearms through straw purchasing and firearms trafficking.
The Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act of 2019 would, for the first time, make it an explicit federal crime to act as a straw purchaser of firearms. And it would create tough 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. This bipartisan bill would help 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. Today, traffickers exploit weaknesses in federal law by targeting individuals who can lawfully purchase guns. Then, those traffickers use those guns to commit crimes. Very often they are trading guns for drugs, fueling the opioid crisis in our communities,” said Senator Collins. “Our bipartisan bill would strengthen federal law by making it easier for prosecutors to go after gun traffickers and straw purchasers. Additionally, this important bill would fully protect the rights of the vast majority of gun owners who are law-abiding citizens.”
“For years I’ve heard from law enforcement that the so-called ‘paperwork offenses’ used to prosecute straw purchasing and the weak firearms trafficking laws do little to prevent criminals from illegally obtaining firearms. These reforms would close those loopholes. Our bill received 58 votes on the Senate floor in 2013 — more than any other gun safety bill at the time. Enough is enough. It is past time for Congress to finally pass legislation to begin to address gun violence, and this bipartisan bill is a great start,” said Senator Leahy.
“Chicago and cities across the country are flooded with guns that have been illicitly trafficked into the area from states with weaker gun laws. Oftentimes, these guns wind up in the hands of people who are legally barred from possessing one. Our bill would crack down on this gun trafficking and straw purchasing and help increase safety in our communities,” said Senator Durbin.
The Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act of 2019 does not affect lawful purchases from federal firearms licensees. The bill is supported by numerous law enforcement organizations, including the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the National Tactical Officers Association.