Leahy Announces Revised Gun-Trafficking Legislation

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy unveiled a revised anti-gun-trafficking measure intended to draw more bipartisan support before his panel considers a series of gun-violence bills March 7.

The measure combines two proposals intended to crack down on gun trafficking and straw purchases, the practice of buying firearms for another person who is prohibited from from purchasing guns.

The legislation will be offered as a substitute to a bill introduced by Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, that would penalize those who engage in straw purchases of firearms. Leahy’s bill would be combined with a proposal by New York Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand and Illinois Republican Mark Kirk that would provide penalties for those who sell to straw purchasers.

“Currently, there is no federal law that defines either gun trafficking or straw purchasing as crimes,” Leahy said today in a statement. Leahy said the bill was drawing support from other senators, including Republican Susan Collins of Maine and Democrat Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.

The bill would establish penalties of up to 20 years in prison for those who engage in straw purchases.

Leahy said the Judiciary Committee will consider the measure along with several other gun-control bills, including a proposed ban on assault weapons. The proposals are in response to the Dec. 14 shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, in which 20 students and six adults were killed.

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