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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand: Make gun trafficking a federal crime

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, joined by Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas, victims of gun violence and others, announced plans on Monday, Nov. 20, 2017, to reintroduce legislation that would for the first time classify gun trafficking as a federal crime. Credit: Barry Sloan

Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand plans to reintroduce a bill this week that would make gun trafficking a federal crime.

At a news conference Monday in Uniondale with Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas and gun control activists, Gillibrand said she would reintroduce the Hadiya Pendleton and Nyasia Pryear-Yard Gun Trafficking and Crime Prevention Act.

Gillibrand first proposed the measure in 2013 after the mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Conn. where 20 children and six adults died.

She has pushed the bill in every legislative session since. But the measure, which has faced deep resistance from the National Rifle Association, has failed to clear the Senate,

“Too often, someone who has no business getting their hands on a weapon uses a gun to commit violence,” Gillibrand said Monday.

Amory Sepulveda, who was paralyzed in a drive-by shooting in Hempstead in 1999, urged Congress to take action. “It is imperative us for to do something,” she said.

The bill classifies gun trafficking as a federal crime and makes it illegal for anyone to sell two or more firearms to a person they know is prevented from owning a gun, such as a felon or domestic abuser.

The recipient of the guns also would be subject to prosecution, as would anyone providing false information to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on firearms transaction forms.

The bill is named for Pendleton, 15, who was an honor student in Chicago when she was shot and killed in 2013 walking home from school after performing at a local inauguration event for President Barack Obama. Pryear, 17, an honors student from Brooklyn, was shot and killed in 2009 while dancing at a teen nightclub.

The NRA did not respond to a request for comment Monday.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman issued a report last year that found that 52,915 firearms were recovered across the state from 2010 to 2015.

Nearly 75 percent of the guns, the report said, came from out of state, and an estimated 20 percent had been recently trafficked.

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