Senators introduce legislation to combat illegal firearms trafficking

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U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Patrick Lee (D-VT) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) on Monday introduced a bill aimed at fighting straw purchases and illicit trafficking in firearms to protect weapons from dangerous criminals.

A law to stop the illicit trafficking of firearms would make it a federal crime to act as a buyer of firearms straw. Buying straw is when an agent buys a good or service for another person who cannot or does not want to buy that good or service themselves. In addition, the bill will penalize anyone who transfers a firearm to someone else if they have good reason to believe that it will be used in drug crimes, crimes of violence or terrorist acts.

“The purchase of straw is intended to achieve one result: to hand over a gun to a criminal who cannot legally obtain one. Traffickers, in particular, exploit weaknesses in federal law by targeting people who can legally purchase weapons. These traffickers then use the weapons to commit crimes or sell them to other criminals. This practice is also fueling the opioid epidemic, which is having a devastating effect on all our communities, ”Collins said. “Maine police officers tell me about the familiar patterns they see: drug dealers and gang members, often from abroad and with criminal records, cross into Maine and turn to addicts to be their straw buyers in exchange for heroin. . Our bill will help protect weapons from the hands of criminals without compromising the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens. “

The legislation is supported by law enforcement organizations, including the Fraternal Order of the Police, the Association of Capital Cities, the Federal Association of Law Enforcement, the National Association of Sheriffs, and the National Association of District Attorneys.