Although the future of many gun control reforms in Congress is still in jeopardy, a bipartisan group of representatives may have found at least one bill to agree on.
The “Gun Trafficking Prevention Act of 2013” would make gun trafficking a federal crime for the first time. This bill would increase the penalties for people who purchase guns and give them to felons, a process called “straw purchasing.” If the bill passes, those convicted could face a potential 20-year sentence.
“You’ll get a criminal who then goes to a person who has no record and gets that person to purchase guns, and then they will send those guns to urban areas,” Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., a co-sponsor of the bill, told Andrea Mitchell Wednesday. He used the example of gun buyers making their purchases in states like Georgia, which have more lenient firearms laws, and then transferring those guns to gang members in urban areas in other states.
Rep. Cummings said he supports a federal assault weapons ban, but noted, “this is something that we’ve got Republicans to agree with us on. In other words, this is the first time in a long time in the House where we’ve got co-sponsorship with Republicans.”
The bill’s four current co-sponsors, two Democrats and two Republicans, recently made their case in a column in Politico, calling the bill “the first truly bipartisan legislation of its kind.” They continued:
“As we engage in this important debate over the coming weeks, we must not allow it to devolve into yet another battle of partisan extremes in Washington. We must keep the fallen in our hearts and minds and come together to support common-sense proposals like this one that will save lives.”
“I think we’re going to get it through,” Cummings told Mitchell. “People wonder how can we reduce those guns going in to urban areas,” he said. “I think this is an excellent way to do it, and that’s why I think this is a no-brainer, or should be, for Republicans and Democrats.”