Press Release

Gillibrand, Adams, Sewell and Gun Safety Advocates Tout Criminalization of Gun Trafficking As Part of Historic Bipartisan Safer Communities Act

Jun 29, 2022

Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was joined by New York City Mayor Eric Adams, New York Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell, and Senior Director of Community Safety Initiatives for Everytown for Gun Safety Michael-Sean Spence to announce the passage of major provisions from her Hadiya Pendleton and Nyasia Pryear-Yard Gun Trafficking and Crime Prevention Act. The measures passed as part of the historic gun safety bill signed by President Joe Biden, the most significant firearms legislation in nearly 30 years.

The recently announced bipartisan deal established the first federal criminal offenses for gun trafficking, a change Senator Gillibrand has been calling for since 2009. Reintroduced earlier this Congress, Gillibrand’s Hadiya Pendleton and Nyasia Pryear-Yard Gun Trafficking and Crime Prevention Act makes the trafficking of firearms a federal crime and establishes penalties for those who knowingly ship, transport or transfer firearms across state lines to individuals not legally allowed to possess a gun.

“After more than a decade of fighting for gun reform, I am encouraged that Congress has taken a promising step toward tackling the gun violence epidemic plaguing our nation. For far too long, we have been the only country in the world that tolerates mass shootings at our schools, stores and places of worship. The American people have demanded that we act to stop these senseless killings, and Congress is finally answering the call,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I’m extremely proud that the centerpiece of my bill, the Hadiya Pendleton and Nyasia Pryear-Yard Gun Trafficking and Crime Prevention Act, was included in the legislation. With this new law, trafficking firearms will become a federal crime, helping to stop the flow of illegal guns in our country and, hopefully, to save countless innocent lives.”

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, there are more than 350,000 gun crimes committed resulting in more than 19,000 homicides each year. In New York State alone, nearly 75% of guns connected to crime and recovered by law enforcement are trafficked from out of state, many along the Iron Pipeline. Despite the illegal movement of guns across state lines, there was no federal law to define gun trafficking as a crime before the passage of this gun safety legislation. A lack of federal law resulted in law enforcement and prosecutors having to rely on a patchwork of state regulations to crack down on criminal networks that made prosecutions difficult and convictions nearly impossible.

Senator Gillibrand’s gun trafficking bill is named for Hadiya Pendleton and Nyasia Pryear-Yard. In 2013, Hadiya, a 15-year-old student at King College Prep in Chicago, was killed when shots were fired into a crowd with the intention of hitting a rival gang member. One of the men charged in her slaying was arrested in January 2011 on a gun charge, but received probation after pleading guilty to unlawful use of a weapon. In 2009, Nyasia tragically lost her life at 17 years old when she was shot by a perpetrator using an illegally trafficked gun in Brooklyn. That same year, Gillibrand authored and first introduced the Gun Trafficking Prevention Act in the U.S. Senate. The measure has been reintroduced every Congress ever since, most recently as the Hadiya Pendleton and Nyasia Pryear-Yard Gun Trafficking and Crime Prevention Act.