Gillibrand, Schumer push for gun legislation - New York News

Gillibrand, Schumer push for gun legislation

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U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) are calling for legislation to crack down on gun trafficking and tighten background checks.

The senators are urging Vice President Joe Biden to include two important measures in his task force's final recommendations to curb gun violence.

Vice President Biden was put in charge of a working group to offer recommendations in December after the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut that killed 20 children and six adults.

The two senators in a letter to Biden, urged him to move forward with the Fix Gun Checks Act that would make it illegal to traffic or assist in the trafficking of a firearm. They also want to see a bill that would requiring states to send records on felons, drug abusers, the seriously mentally to the federal system for background checks on gun buyers.

"Congress has ducked a serious national debate over common-sense gun laws for too long. We have an obligation to act and prevent tomorrow's senseless deaths by coming together and ensuring that guns stay out of the hands of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill," said Senator Gillibrand. "By cracking down on illegal gun traffickers and their vast criminal networks, we can reduce gun violence and keep our children and families safe. As a mother and a lawmaker, I will not allow these tragedies and gun violence-related deaths, to go unanswered. It is time to demand real solutions and give law enforcement the tools they need to eliminate illegal guns from the street and keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people." 

"As we saw vividly on Thursday night when three New York City police officers were shot, illegal guns imported from outside our city continue to cause destruction," said Senator Schumer. "We have to make sure that the mentally handicapped and violent criminals are not able to purchase weapons, and that those who traffic in illegal weapons are tracked down, caught, and punished."

The Gun Trafficking Prevention Act will:

Focus on Entire Criminal Network 

First, the Gun Trafficking Prevention Act makes it illegal to traffic or assist in the trafficking of a firearm, making it unlawful to deliver or receive two or more firearms where the individual knows or has reason to believe that the firearms are being, or will be, used in a felony. By going after straw-purchasers who buy a gun for someone else to help them evade required recordkeeping and background checks, corrupt gun dealers who sell firearms to traffickers, and persons who conspire with and organize gun trafficking rings, this legislation addresses firearms trafficking at every point of the chain. 

Tough Penalties for Criminals 

Second, the legislation establishes stiff penalties that are a much-needed deterrent to gun trafficking. Under this bill, traffickers could face up to twenty years in prison and be fined a significant sum of money. It also provides greater penalties for kingpins who organize gun trafficking rings, subjecting them to an additional sentence of potentially five consecutive years in prison. Penalties could increase depending on the number of guns trafficked. 

The bill also treats individuals engaged in a conspiracy to traffic guns the same as those who actually traffic a gun. Individuals who engage in the conspiracy are subject to the same punishment as those who physically sell and receive the illegal guns. 

By creating more options and providing flexibility for prosecutors and judges, we increase the tools that are available for prosecutors in the federal criminal justice system to appropriately crack down on individuals who are engaged in every aspect of gun trafficking.

Crackdown on Corrupt Gun Dealers 

Third, the Attorney General of the United States and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) are empowered to impose heightened restrictions, levy tough financial penalties, and suspend or revoke the license of any corrupt gun dealer. Corrupt gun dealers will be subject to a license suspension of up to six months and a fine of up to $2,500 per violation. This is the first time that the levying of civil penalties will be widely available as a deterrent for corrupt gun dealers.

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