Comment of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Need To Combat Straw Purchasing & Illegal Gun Trafficking

“We must do everything we can to ensure that deadly weapons – like the rifles used in the San Bernardino shootings – do not fall into the hands of terrorists, violent criminals, and drug traffickers.  Law enforcement officials have complained for years that they lack effective tools necessary to investigate and deter straw purchasers and gun traffickers.  Today’s arrest of the individual who provided the rifles for the San Bernardino shooters is a reminder that we need to strengthen our laws to give law enforcement agents and prosecutors the tools they need to fight terrorism and violent crime. 

“I will soon reintroduce the Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act, which had broad bipartisan support last Congress.  My legislation will make it a Federal crime to serve as a ‘straw purchaser’ of firearms, and establish tough penalties for those who skirt existing laws and traffic firearms to terrorists and criminals.  In light of reports that the rifles used in the San Bernardino shootings may have been acquired through a straw purchaser, it is all the more important for Congress to take action to fix this problem.”

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