Today, Congressman Bobby L. Rush introduced the Hadiya Pendleton and Nyasia Pryear-Yard Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act of 2013 to limit straw purchases of firearms and reduce illegal trafficking of firearms across state lines. A key focus of the bill is targeted at anti-straw purchasing and firearms trafficking by individuals known as "straw purchasers" who play key roles in most firearms trafficking operations.
"Equipping federal law enforcement officials with the legislative authority to halt illegal tracking of firearms is an appropriate and sensible action for Congress to take," said Rush. "Selfish individuals who scam and work around existing checks and controls in the system put our communities at risk through their selfish greed and lack of forethought for others whom they place in harm's way."
Under current law, there is no criminal statute illegalizing straw purchasing or firearms trafficking. This bill would make it a federal crime to purchase a gun from a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) for, on behalf of, or at the request or demand of any other person. For purchases made from a private seller, this new section would make it a crime to purchase a gun for, on behalf of, or at the request of someone who is prohibited from possessing a firearm (e.g. a convicted felon or someone adjudicated as mentally ill). The maximum sentence for this offense would be 15 years imprisonment or 25 years imprisonment if the defendant knew or had reasonable cause to believe that any firearm involved would be used to commit a crime of violence. It is important to note that anyone purchasing a firearm from an FFL must already sign a Form 4473 stating that he or she is the "actual buyer" of the firearm.
Rush a long time advocate for tougher gun laws also introduced H.R. 34, the Blair Holt Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2013 on the first day of the 113th Congress. Originally introduced in 2007 and subsequently reintroduced in 2009, the bill is named after Blair Holt, a Chicago Julian High School honor student who was gunned down while riding home from school on a crowded public transit bus. A teenager, seeking a rival gang member, boarded the bus and opened fire with a .40 caliber handgun. Missing his intended target, the shooter struck Blair and two other female classmates. Video footage of the assault shows that seconds before he was fatally hit in the abdomen, Blair had pushed the female friend next to him down into the seat and shielded her body with his own. In an instant, this brave young man, the son of a police officer and a firefighter, sacrificed his life to save another.
Upon enactment into law, "Blair's Bill" would: (1) protect the public against the unreasonable risk of injury and death associated with the unrecorded sale or transfer of qualifying firearms to criminals and youth; (2) ensure that owners of qualifying firearms are knowledgeable in the safe use, handling, and storage of those firearms; (3) restrict the availability of qualifying firearms to criminals, youth, and other persons prohibited by Federal law from receiving firearms (mentally unstable, fugitives, addicts, dishonorably discharged military personnel, those subject to restraining orders); and (4) facilitate the tracing of qualifying firearms used in crime by Federal and State law enforcement.
Rush continues to fight for commonsense gun laws that will protection communities and work to end senseless gun violence across the country.