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Illinois Senators Lead Legislative Fight On ‘Straw Purchases’

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WASHINGTON (IRN) - A bi-partisan bill that would impose jail time for straw purchases and trafficking of guns now heads to the full U.S. Senate for consideration.

The Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with bi-partisan support. The bill, sponsored by U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill) and Mark S. Kirk (R-Ill.) threatens up to a 15-year prison sentence for those who purchase a gun for someone not legally allowed to possess one. The prison sentence for straw purchasers can increase to 25 years if the straw purchaser has knowledge that the gun could or will be used in a crime.

The same 15-year penalty applies for someone caught transporting or transferring guns to another person or persons who cannot possess one. The penalty can increase to 25 years if the trafficker is a leader of an organized gang.

“For straw purchasers, for those that are going to buy guns and turn them over to the thugs and criminals, get ready. When this bill becomes law you’re going to deal with a hard time federal crime,” Durbin said Friday at a news conference at police headquarters in Chicago. “Let the word on the street get out. Girlfriends, think twice. Is it worth 15 years in prison to buy that gun and to go and sell it to some gang banger or some boyfriend who [is] going to use it to commit a crime? Think twice about that now.”

The bill is likely to pass in both the Senate and the House, since the one thing lawmakers and pro-gun lobbyists agree on is the curbing of straw purchases. On other pending gun control matters such as a proposed ban on military style weapons, Durbin admits it will be much harder to pass such a law in Congress.

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