Conyers Joins First Responders in Calling for Legislation to Combat Gun Trafficking
Washington, DC, March 12, 2013
This afternoon, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) participated in a bipartisan Gun Trafficking Forum put on by Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Congressman Scott Rigell (R-Va.), and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.). Following the forum, Rep. Conyers issued the following statement:
“Today, I stand with my colleagues at a bipartisan forum on gun trafficking in support of the ‘Gun Trafficking Prevention Act of 2013.’
“Firearms violence remains an unacceptable epidemic of crime and death that impacts every community in this country. Each day on average, 32 Americans are murdered with guns, amounting to 12,000 lives each year. We simply cannot live with this horrifying status quo.
“Illegal gun trafficking is a critical enabler of gun violence. Research suggests that only about one of every six firearms used in a crime was obtained legally, and a noteworthy portion of crime guns are illegally diverted from legal commerce. We know that some federally licensed firearms dealers are disproportionately the source of guns used in crime, and we know that there are longstanding trafficking route for crime guns.
“Simply put, current law is not adequate to provide federal law enforcement with the tools needed to investigate and prosecute gun traffickers. As it stands, there is no law that specifically prohibits firearms trafficking and that reflects the seriousness of the threat of straw purchasing.
“To address the inadequacy of current law, I have joined Representatives Carolyn Maloney, Elijah Cummings, Scott Rigell and others in sponsoring H.R. 452, the ‘Gun Trafficking Prevention Act of 2013.’ This bill will prohibit straw purchasing and penalize those who run gun trafficking rings that engage in straw purchasing.
“The ‘Gun Trafficking Prevention Act’ is critical to strengthening our firearms laws, but it is only one part of a comprehensive strategy that includes: Requiring background checks for all gun sales, banning semi-automatic assault weapons, banning high capacity ammunition magazines, addressing the root causes of violent crime through prevention programs, and providing better evaluation and treatment to address our mental health crisis.
“The magnitude of the problem demands that we do all of these things. Supporting the Gun Trafficking Prevention Act is a critical first step in addressing the national problem of gun violence. I will continue in this struggle against gun violence and this forum until our bill becomes law.”