They continue to butt heads on the outright ban of assault weapons, but Republicans and Democrats have joined together on one key element of gun control: beefing up penalties for the purchase and transport of illegal firearms.
The New York Times reports that two Republicans and two Democrats have proposed the creation of a federal anti-gun-trafficking law. The legislation would zero in on those who buy guns for others and lie about it on federal background checks.
“Unless you’re a gun trafficker, unless you’re a person who’s a straw purchaser, there’s really no problem with this,” Virginia Rep. Scott Rigell, a Republican sponsor of the bill, told the Times.
“[People] are begging us to address this problem,” added Maryland Rep.
Elijah Cummings, one of the Democrat sponsors, whose 20-year-old nephew was shot dead.
The Senate’s companion bill is sponsored by Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk, a Republican, and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat.
The Times says anti-trafficking laws “enjoy broad support from law enforcement agencies because they would help tackle a huge problem for police forces in major cities.” Meanwhile, Democratic senators reportedly want to postpone the battle over an assault weapons ban.
Politico reports California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat and sponsor of the ban, is weighing whether to propose it at an upcoming Judiciary Committee markup, a move that may spoil the Democrats’ “carefully-hatched” strategy to handle the controversial gun-control debate.
Democrats fear that route “could ironically end up sinking a new universal background checks bill considered a key piece of President Barack Obama’s gun control agenda that stands a serious chance of passing the Senate,” according to Politico.