Bill Would Make Gun Trafficking a Federal Crime

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) of New York and Sen. Mark Kirk (R) of Illinois are pushing legislation that would make selling guns to a prohibited possessor worth 20 years in federal prison, according to guns.com.

There are currently no federal laws on the books defining gun trafficking as a crime.

The Senators say the new bill would do just that and aims to cut down on illegal firearms crossing state borders. It also establishes harsh penalties for offenders.

According to wbng.com, latest national statistics say more than 70 percent of the 8,500 firearms received and traced in New York in 2013 came from out of state. The same stats says a group of 10 states supplied nearly half of the illegal guns that crosses state lines before being used in crimes.

Gillibrand says making gun trafficking a federal crime could eliminate confusion between states that have different laws regarding the transfer of illegal firearms and would dictate who can and cannot purchase a gun, whereas now that criteria varies from state to state.

The bill would modify current laws to make it felony to transfer two or more guns in an instance where there is a reasonable belief that doing so would be a violation of the law. The crime would extend to those directing or assisting other in such transfers. An individual prosecuted under the law can face up to 20 years in prison. The organizer of a crime ring will get five more years tacked on to a sentence.

According to guns.com, exceptions would be made for gifts and inheritances, so long as the recipient is not prohibited by federal, state or local law from owning a firearm.

The bill is named the Hadiya Pendleton and Nyasia Pryear-Yard Gun Trafficking & Crime Prevention Act of 2015 after two teens who were shot and killed with guns from out of state.

An earlier attempt by the same two lawmakers at similar legislation never made it out of committee as the Gun Trafficking Prevention Act of 2013.

U.S. Rep. David Cicilline announced a trio of new measures earlier this month that would establish National ASK Day and expand background check data, and other Senators have made remarks about launching gun legislation bills of their own.