Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05) will reintroduce the Trafficking Reduction and Criminal Enforcement (TRACE) Act, which cracks down on the illegal gun market by improving gun tracking data. The bill also repeals the Tiahrt Amendments, which hamper law enforcement's pursuit of criminals who buy and sell illegal guns.
"The TRACE Act is the type of commonsense gun control reform we need to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of dangerous people," said Rep. Quigley. "Our law enforcement officials face a sea of illegal weapons flooding our streets, but the TRACE Act will close the loopholes that allow criminals to obtain illicit guns and choke off the supply to traffickers."
"For nearly a decade, the Tiahrt restrictions have hampered our nation's law enforcement officials and kept the public in the dark about gun traffickers. By removing these dangerous restrictions, this bill goes a long way toward restoring access to critical gun data that can help protect our communities," said Mark Glaze, Director of the bipartisan coalition Mayors Against Illegal Guns. "I want to thank Congressman Quigley for his continued efforts in the fight to end gun violence in America, and I urge lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to follow his lead."
"Congressman Quigley is to be commended for his leadership on this issue. Now more than ever, we need leaders like Congressman Quigley who can stand up and help us to fight for the comprehensive proposals put forth by the White House. There is no one solution to this epidemic of violence but the TRACE Act is an important piece of that effort. We applaud the Congressman for introducing it now," said Dan Gross, President of the Brady Campaign.
While criminals often obtain guns on the black market, those guns generally originate from licensed dealers. Although the vast majority of gun dealers follow the law, a huge proportion of crime guns come from a handful of unscrupulous vendors. In 2000, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) estimated that 57 percent of crime guns came from 1.2 percent of licensed dealers.
Under the TRACE Act:
Background check records would be maintained for a minimum of 180 days. The Tiahrt Amendment currently requires 24 hour record destruction, making it nearly impossible to catch law-breaking gun dealers who falsify their records or track straw purchasers who buy guns on behalf of criminals.
Gun dealers would be required to perform inventory checks to report lost and stolen guns, a measure currently prohibited under the Tiahrt Amendments. If law-abiding dealers reported inventories, the ATF would be much more effective at identifying lost and stole weapons and combating corrupt gun dealers. In 2007, the ATF found 30,000 guns missing from dealer inventories based on its inspection of just fewer than 10 percent of gun dealers.
New firearms would include a second, hidden serial number located inside the receiver, which could only be removed by dismantling the entire weapon. Violent criminals, including the perpetrator of the shootings at Virginia Tech, have attempted to thwart law enforcement by removing serial numbers on thousands of guns recovered in crimes each year.
Rep. Quigley has a long history of pushing for commonsense gun control reforms and originally introduced the TRACE Act in the 112th Congress. He has called on Congress to stand up to the gun lobby in order to address the growing problem of gun violence in America and was on hand when President Obama announced proposals to reduce and prevent gun violence. Recently he helped introduced the Buyback our Safety Act to bolster gun buyback initiatives Rep Quigley also spearheaded the effort to file a "friend of the court" amicus brief, urging the Supreme Court to allow Chicago's handgun ban to stand.