Buffalo, NY –U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, County Executive Mark Poloncarz, and Bishop Darius Pridgen, along with law enforcement, advocates, and community leaders today held a roundtable meeting and discussed bipartisan gun trafficking legislation aimed at cracking down on the daily flow of illegal guns on our nation’s streets. Senator Gillibrand’s legislation the Hadiya Pendleton and Nyasia Pryear-Yard Gun Trafficking & Crime Prevention Act would, for the first time, make gun trafficking a federal crime to provide tools to law enforcement to get illegal guns off the streets, away from criminal networks and street gangs, and to prosecute those who traffic firearms.
Currently, there is no federal law that defines gun trafficking as a crime. The Hadiya Pendleton and Nyasia Pryear-Yard Gun Trafficking & Crime Prevention Act would also crack down on bad gun dealers. Senator Gillibrand has been working on gun trafficking legislation since 2009, and similar bipartisan legislation she introduced received 58 votes in the United States Senate in 2013 – just two votes shy of breaking a filibuster.
“I am proud to work with all the members of law enforcement, advocates, and community members who participated in today’s roundtable meeting and share the goal of cracking down on gun trafficking to keep illegal guns off our streets,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I am not willing to throw my hands in the air and say nothing can be done while lives are being senselessly lost due to weapons being in the hands of criminals. We all have a moral obligation to make our voices heard and say enough is enough. The absence of any federal law defining gun trafficking as a crime in this country is shocking. Cracking down on gun trafficking and keeping illegal guns off our streets should not be a Republican or Democratic issue because it is just common sense. By cracking down illegal gun traffickers and their vast criminal networks, we can stop the flow of illegal guns and save innocent lives.”
Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said, “Illegal guns have no place in our communities and corrode the fabric of our cities and neighborhoods. Criminals have no objection to using these firearms to destroy lives and wreck families, and we must have no hesitation in our determination to halt their senseless violence. I commend Senator Gillibrand for her perseverance on cracking down on illegal guns and am proud to join her, as well as our partners in the community and law enforcement, in working to end this scourge.”
Key Provisions of the Trafficking & Crime Prevention Act of 2015
The Hadiya Pendleton and Nyasia Pryear-Yard Gun Trafficking & Crime Prevention Act would empower local, state, and federal law enforcement to investigate and prosecute gun traffickers and their entire criminal networks, including gangs, cartels and organized crime rings. Specifically the bill will make it illegal to:
- Sell or otherwise transfer two or more firearms to someone whom the seller knows, or has reasonable cause to know, is prohibited by Federal, State or local laws from owning a firearm (e.g. felon, convicted domestic abuser).
- Purchase or otherwise acquire two or more firearms if the recipient knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, that such receipt would be in violation of any Federal, State, or local law (e.g. if the recipient is a prohibited owner).
- Provide false information on a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives firearms transaction record form.
- Knowingly facilitate the above actions.
The bill establishes harsh penalties, including a maximum prison penalty of 20 years for the above infractions. The penalty is further increased by five years for the organizer(s) of the trafficking ring and conspirators face a maximum penalty of 20 years. The legislation also calls upon the Sentencing Commission to substantially increase the penalties for trafficking when committed by or in concert with members of gangs, cartels, organized crime rings or other criminal enterprises.
The following groups have endorsed the Hadiya Pendleton and Nyasia Pryear-Yard Gun Trafficking and Crime Prevention Act of 2015: Everytown for Gun Safety, Third Way, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence united with the Million Mom March, Americans for Responsible Solutions, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence and Harlem Mothers Save.