U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) released the following statement after the Senate Judiciary Committee today considered a bipartisan bill that would combat gun trafficking and straw purchases. The Judiciary Committee approved the legislation, S.443, which incorporates anti-gun trafficking provisions introduced by Senators Kirk and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), by a vote of 11-7.
"Every day in cities across our nation illegal guns flow into the hands of dangerous drug gangs who use these weapons to engage in widespread violence and senseless murder," said Senator Kirk. "Last year alone, gang violence killed over 500 men, women and children in Chicago. The bill passed by the Judiciary Committee incorporates the Kirk-Gillibrand bill to make trafficking of illegal guns a federal crime and stop this vicious cycle of violence. My hope is that drying up the flow of illegal weapons will make our streets safer while protecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners."
Originally introduced on January 30th, the Kirk, Gillibrand Gun trafficking Prevention Act of 2013 empowers law enforcement to investigate and prosecute gun traffickers and their entire criminal networks, including gangs and organized crime rings. The bill makes it illegal to sell or transfer 2 or more firearms to someone whom the seller knows or has reasonable cause to know is prohibited by laws from owning a firearm and establishes harsh penalties for infractions.
On March 4th, Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) joined Senators Kirk and Gillibrand in sponsoring a larger bill, titled the Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act, which incorporates the Kirk-Gillibrand language. A portion of the legislation is named after Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old girl who was shot and killed by gang gunfire in Chicago.