EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (KMOX) — It’s nothing we haven’t heard before, legislative things take time, but U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said he wanted the newly formed Metro East Police Commission done yesterday.

“This idea of a metropolitan police commission really says we’re going to take the four towns over here in the worst shape, when it come to law enforcement and try and professionalize them,” Durbin said Wednesday during a press conference in East St. Louis about gun reform.

KMOX reported earlier this week that it might be years before the public see crime fighting results from the commission.

Durbin said in the meantime he would support the idea of more state officers coming in and helping out.

States Attorney Brendan Kelly says that could be a reality soon, “in the current budget being proposed by Governor Quinn it does include funding for three additional classes of graduating state troopers.”

During Sen. Durbin’s visit to the Metro East he touted his gun trafficking bill set to be debated in Congress.

“Time and again, I’ve heard from law enforcement leaders about how easily illegal guns make their way to the street,” Durbin said. “Straw purchasers flaunt our nation’s gun laws to help arm thugs and criminals without fear of serious consequences. This bill is a commonsense solution to that, which is why the Judiciary Committee passed it on a bipartisan vote. When the bill comes to the floor early next month, I urge my colleagues to support it.”

Durbin crafted the Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act, along with a bipartisan group of colleagues including U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL). It establishes the first specific straw purchasing offense in federal law, threatening up to 15 year prison sentences for straw purchasers that can increase to 25 years if the straw purchaser knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the gun will be used to commit a crime of violence.

In addition to Durbin’s bill, the Senate will also consider two other pieces of gun legislation next month. One, the Protecting Responsible Gun Sellers Act, would require background checks for the private sale of firearms, require the report of the loss or theft of a gun within 24 hours, mandate that private sellers keep a record of firearms transactions, and penalize noncompliance with up to a year in jail. The other, the School and Campus Safety Enhancements Act, reauthorizes the U.S. Department of Justice’s Secure Our Schools program, which provides grants for school security, and also creates a national center for campus public safety that would provide training and best practices to colleges and universities.


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