Bipartisan Group Hatches Gun Bill in Senate
Patrick Leahy announces push against 'straw purchasers'
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2013 7:08 PM CST
This May 16, 2012 file photo shows Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. gesturing during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington.    (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

(Newser) – A bipartisan group of senators hatched a bill today that would increase penalties for so-called "straw purchasers" of firearms, the Washington Post reports. Sen. Patrick Leahy, announcing the deal, said anyone who illegally buys a gun for someone else would face up to 20 years in prison; the seller would be punished as well. "The practice of straw purchasing is used for one thing—to put firearms into the hands of those that are prohibited by law from having them," said Leahy. "Many are then used to further violent crimes."

The proposal merges a Leahy bill to punish "straw purchasers" and a bill by Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) to penalize the seller. Sens. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) cosponsored, and other Republicans may join in. But increasing penalties for gun traffickers isn't too controversial, NBC News notes; a similar bill has already reached the House. Another bipartisan group of senators is negotiating a background-check bill, but can't agree on whether private sellers should have to store records of private gun sales.

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Showing 3 of 34 comments
Mar 5, 2013 12:01 PM CST
Increased penalties?? It is already illegal, so, a Larger penalty, more jail time will deter criminals?? I don't think so, way to go , waste more time BTW, Doesn't it make some sense to Enforce current laws , then If needed, Update the Law?/ Just wondering
Mar 5, 2013 10:13 AM CST
This bill will subject the seller to jail time for selling to a straw purchaser. Somebody want to explain how the seller is supposed to know who is buying for someone else and who isn't? Frankly. I'm bitterly disappointed in Sen. Leahy. The straw purchaser part of this bill is stupid and I suspect damn near unenforceable.
Mar 5, 2013 6:47 AM CST
Not one of these bills will stop someone intent on commiting a crime with a firearm from obtaining/stealing one and doing the deed. A complete waste of time. Focus on mental health issues and not legal gun ownership. Too simplistic for some of you I know, but hey you have to have something to rail about I suppose.