WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced legislation Tuesday, the first day that bills can be introduced in the Senate in the new 113th Congress, that aims to combat the practice of straw purchasing and illegal trafficking in firearms.
The Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act of 2013 provides law enforcement officials with the tools they need to investigate and prosecute the all-too-common practice of straw purchasing, where an individual buys a firearm for someone else who is prohibited from obtaining one on their own. The measure, cosponsored by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), specifically prohibits the straw purchase of firearms and strengthens the law prohibiting material false statements when purchasing a firearm. The bill establishes tough penalties for anyone who purchases a firearm or ammunition with the intent to transfer it to someone else, particularly in cases involving crimes of violence or drug trafficking, and expands existing trafficking law to make it a crime for an individual to smuggle firearms out of the United States.
Leahy said, “When the President spoke last week about the need for legislative action in the wake of the horrific events at Sandy Hook Elementary School last month, strengthening our law enforcement efforts against illegal gun trafficking was one of the key issues he noted. This bill will answer that call to action.”
The Judiciary Committee next week will hold its first hearing of the 113th Congress on gun violence. Lawmakers are expected to hear testimony from a wide range of experts during that hearing and discuss various legislative proposals to stop the kind of tragic gun violence that recently struck Newtown, Conn., and Sandy Hook Elementary School.
“The provisions laid out in this legislation are focused, commonsense remedies to the very real problem of firearms trafficking and straw purchasing,” Leahy said. “As the Senate seeks a way forward to find national solutions to reduce gun violence, I hope Senators from across the political spectrum can work together to find common ground on solutions like this.”