Vermont Press Releases

Leahy sponsors bill to outlaw straw purchasing and gun trafficking

SJC Approves Bipartisan Legislation to Combat Gun Trafficking Authored By Chairman Leahy
. . . Measure To Outlaw Straw Purchasing and Gun Trafficking Has Bipartisan Support

WASHINGTON (Thursday, March 7, 2013) — The Senate Judiciary Committee, on a bipartisan vote, Thursday approved legislation authored by Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and coauthored by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) that would for the first time explicitly make illegal the abusive practice of straw purchasing and trafficking of firearms. The committee vote is the first legislative vote on measures related to gun violence in either the Senate or the House since the Newtown tragedy, and it comes amid a markup session scheduled by Leahy on four gun-related bills, including the Leahy-Collins Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act.

The bill goes after gun traffickers and closes a gaping loophole to background checks by also penalizing straw purchasers, who buy firearms for another person who is prohibited from obtaining one on his own.

“The practice of straw purchasing firearms is undertaken for one reason-to get a gun into the hands of someone who is prohibited from having one,” Leahy said at the Committee’s executive business meeting. “We know that many guns used in criminal activities are acquired through straw purchases. We need a meaningful solution to this serious problem.”

The legislation is cosponsored by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine).

Additionally, the measure is endorsed by multiple law enforcement groups including the Fraternal Order of Police, the National District Attorneys Association, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association and the Major Cities Chiefs Association. Leahy first introduced gun trafficking legislation in January, and announced a major bipartisan agreement on the issue Monday. The Judiciary Committee approved the bill by a vote of 11-7, with all Democrats and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the committee’s ranking member, voting in favor.

“Law enforcement officials have consistently called for a firearms trafficking statute that can be effective to go after straw purchasers,” Leahy said. “What we need to do now is to create better law enforcement tools. I urge all Senators to join with us to close a dangerous loophole in the law that Mexican drug cartels, gangs and other criminals have exploited for too long.”

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  • Jay Armstrong

    It’s too late, like all government control efforts. The Koreans, have Nukes, so does IRAN. The criminals have FN5.7, uzis, AR’s AK’s and grenades and explosives. It doesn’t matter what bill or law is passed, it’s too late. It’s too late to close the borders, it’s too late to stop spending. The 300 million in the US are going to be screwed by the 6 billion world citizens when the US $$ crisis hits the fan. I just bought an AKM47 and a 1000 rounds and a bunch of 30 round magazines because of pending disarmement laws. I’d like to quote Thomas Jefferson, when they come for your guns, give them the lead first. You out of control mongers are too late.

  • Jay Armstrong

    You’re control mongering is once again too late. Everything is too late, the KOREANS and IRANIANS have NUKES. It’s too late to close the borders. It’s too late to stop wasteful spending. It’s all too late, the USA is a has been waiting for the other 6 billion world citizens to take what we have. It’s too late to stop the real criminals, you are just hurting the law abiding citizens for now. When you criminalize not registering guns, then the war on the people begins, the CIVILIAN TERRORISTS that were law abiding citizens until the government pushed too far and too hard in every way. I hope I’m wrong, I love the USA

  • sandra bettis

    and this is the reason that we need gun laws….just like wall st who can’t control themselves either w/o regulations….

  • Walter Carpenter

    ” It’s too late to stop the real criminals, you are just hurting the law abiding citizens for now.”

    As someone who has survived a drive-by shooting, I would like to know that with all this firepower you have, when does this firepower turn a law-abiding citizen into a domestic terrorist or a criminal? The massacres at aurora, Newtown, Tucson, virginia tech and hundrds of others were not committed by criminals with police records as long as my arm. They were done by people who were supposedly law-abiding citizens until they got a hold of this massive firepower which helped to inspire them to proceed to do the harm that they did.

    • kevin lawrence

      So, where is the mental health component in this discussion. Yes, the Aurora guy was getting mental health services for serious issues, but he was not on a list to keep him from purchasing firearms. Same in Sandy Hook. That’s a disconnect of government.