U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) helped introduce legislation Thursday that would make gun trafficking a federal crime.
The Hadiya Pendleton and Nyasia Pryear-Yard Gun Trafficking & Crime Prevention Act of 2015 would also assist law enforcement in pulling such weapons off the streets and aid in the prosecution of those who traffic guns.
"Gun trafficking is one of the key drivers of gun violence in Chicago," Durbin said in a press release. "The Senate came close to passing meaningful anti-trafficking legislation in the last Congress, but we have more work to do. This bipartisan bill will crack down on the illegal trafficking of guns and impose strict federal punishments on those who supply guns to criminals."
In 2013, the Senate was just two votes shy of breaking a filibuster on similar legislation. The 2015 bill is named after 15-year-old Chicago teen Hadiya Pendleton who was shot and killed on the city's South Side when someone fired into a crowd of teens hoping to hit someone from a rival gang. In 2009, Nyasia Pryear-Yard was killed by an illegal gun at the age of 17 while at a club when someone in her vicinity started shooting in response to gang terms that were yelled from soneone on the stage at the event.
According to the press release, the bill will make it easier for local, state and federal officials to prosecute those involved in gun trafficking as well "their entire criminal networks." The legislation specifically makes it illegal to:
- Sell or otherwise transfer two or more firearms to someone whom the seller knows, or has reasonable cause to know, is prohibited by Federal, State or local laws from owning a firearm (e.g. felon, convicted domestic abuser).
- Purchase or otherwise acquire two or more firearms if the recipient knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, that such receipt would be in violation of any Federal, State, or local law (e.g. if the recipient is a prohibited owner).
- Provide false information on a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives firearms transaction record form.
- Knowingly facilitate the above actions.