Bacon, Cisneros Reintroduce Stop Straw Purchases Act
Washington, DC, October 31, 2019
Today, Congressman Don Bacon (NE-R) was joined by Congressman Gil Cisneros (CA-D) in reintroducing H.R. 4939, the STOP Straw Purchases Act, to increase penalties resulting from the purchase of a firearm for a prohibited person.
An illegal firearm purchase is a federal crime and applies to purchases for those who are knowingly prohibited by law from possessing a gun or do not want their name associated with the purchase.
The STOP Straw Purchases Act would strengthen federal law and make it easier to prosecute criminal straw purchasers and gun traffickers. It will increase the maximum punishment for the purchaser and the receiver, who transfers a firearm with reasonable cause to believe that it will be used in a drug crime or crime of violence, to include a fine up to $750,000, and a prison term for up to 25 years. Current law calls for a fine of up to $250,000 and a prison term of up to 10 years in prison.
“Most of the gun-related crime is committed by someone who should not have access to a firearm, but they are able to get it because someone else makes the purchase. Local law enforcement have said this is one of their top priorities,” said Rep. Bacon. “This was the case with Omaha Police Officer Kerrie Orozco who was killed in the line of duty and the gun used was obtained through a straw purchase. The purchaser walked away with a slap on the wrist. By closing loopholes and increasing maximum punishments for violators, this legislation will help to deter criminals from illegally obtaining firearms and bring justice and safety to our affected communities.”
“We must do more to end the epidemic of gun violence in our country and get illegal firearms off the streets and out of our communities,” said Rep. Cisneros. “Data shows that straw purchases account for a high volume of trafficked guns and that gun dealers are often willing to sell guns to people who are asking to purchase guns on behalf of someone else. I’m proud to join Congressman Bacon in this common-sense legislation that supports our law enforcement and keeps guns out of the hands of those who should not have access to a firearm.”
In addition, a “Kingpin Clause” included in the legislation makes it unlawful for any person affecting interstate commerce to have straw purchaser(s) acquire firearms to enable a gun trafficking enterprise. This clause, which includes anyone trying to traffic weapons across state lines, will subject the organizer or “kingpin” of the operation to a fine of $1,000,000, up to 30 years in prison, or both.
Finally, under this bill, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives must ensure that the Firearms Transaction Record used to purchase firearms contains a clear outline of the penalties.