Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutionsby Senator Mark Kirk
Posted on 2013-01-30
KIRK. Mr. President, I rise in support of the Gun
Trafficking Prevention Act of 2013, which I am proud to have introduced
with Senator Gillibrand (D-NY) this morning. There are an estimated
33,000 gangs with 1.4 million active members who live in our
neighborhoods, towns and cities across the United States. With more
than 100,000 gang members, the city of Chicago has more gang members
who terrorize its residents than any other city in the United States.
The Chicago Crime Commission also reported the existence of an
additional 15,000 gang members operating in our suburbs.
Gangs like the Vice Lords, Gangster Disciples and the Latin Kings are responsible for nearly 80 percent of the city's homicides, which just last summer amounted to 500 deaths in Chicago. These homicides are most often perpetrated with illegal weapons. Law enforcement officers in Chicago confiscate an average of 13,000 illegal weapons each year. It must end.
That is why I have joined with Senator Gillibrand of New York to take serious action to prevent weapons trafficking and straw purchasing, where a third-party member legally purchases a firearm, then sells or trades it to a criminal who is legally barred from purchasing such a weapon. Our bill would be the first Federal law to criminalize the trafficking of illegal guns. This legislation also calls upon the sentencing commission to substantially increase the penalties for trafficking when committed by or in concert with gang members.
The Gun Trafficking Prevention Act keeps Americans safe by giving law enforcement the tools it needs to crack down on straw purchases, organizers of trafficking rings, and those involved in the conspiracy of trafficking while protecting the constitutional rights of responsible, law-abiding gun owners. I hope my colleagues will join me in supporting and quickly passing this critical legislation.