Gillibrand: Get tough on illegal gun sales
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said Sunday that she will reintroduce a bill that would crack down on illegal gun sales by increasing penalties for the illegal transport and sale of firearms.
The Gun Trafficking Prevention Act didn't pass in 2009 when it came up for a vote in both chambers of Congress after Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) introduced it.
The act would make it illegal to receive or deliver two or more firearms for anyone who suspects that they will be used in a crime and erase the distinction between trafficking and conspiring to traffic. It would penalize trafficking with up to 20 years in prison, with kingpins receiving an additional five years.
The act would crack down on licensed gun dealers who do not perform adequate background checks on their buyers by revoking their licenses for up to six months and imposing fines of up to $2,500 per violation.
"A very small minority of dealers are contributing to the cycle of violence that puts our children and our communities at grave risk," Gillibrand said Sunday.
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat, said he backs the act because more gun vendors in New York are selling firearms to customers without doing proper background checks.
"It is really remarkable that in December of 2011, we have to stand here to hear Senator Gillibrand say that she is introducing a bill to make gun trafficking illegal," said SchneidermanHe said New York gun show vendors have sold firearms to undercover agents claiming to not be able to pass such checks. Vendors on Long Island and upstate have been criminally charged.
Gillibrand cited NYPD statistics showing 90 percent of firearms used in criminal activities in New York City come from states with more lax gun legislation, to bolster her view that national legislation is needed. She said most people who buy guns and bring them into the state aren't the ones that use them. The bill will go after all members of the trafficking chain.
It would grant more resources to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which is authorized to conduct yearly inspections of all federally licensed dealers, but can only do so in seven to 10 years. Schneiderman said with an additional $100 million, the bureau could decrease its inspection period to three years.