WASHINGTON, D.C. –(ENEWSPF)—February 17, 2017. As deadly gun violence continues to claim lives in Chicago and wreak havoc on communities engulfed in poverty, drugs, high unemployment and a lack of access to mental health and social services, U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (IL-01) has reintroduced H.R.810 the “Hadiya Pendleton and Nyasia Pryear-Yard Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act of 2017.”
The bill seeks to increase public safety by punishing and deterring firearms trafficking. Specifically, it prohibits, with respect to two or more firearms, the transfer to or receipt by a prohibited person or a person who plans a subsequent transfer that results in unlawful use, possession, or disposition of such firearms; providing false statements in connection with the purchase, receipt, or acquisition of such firearms; and directing, promoting, or facilitating such prohibited conduct.
A person who commits or conspires to commit a gun trafficking offense is subject to a prison term of up to 20 years (or 25 years if such person also acted as an organizer). The U.S. Sentencing Commission must review and, if appropriate, amend the sentencing guidelines and policy statements that apply to persons convicted of trafficking in firearms.
“Last week we had three children including a two-year-old toddler, shot and killed by random gunfire in Chicago,” Rush said. “This trauma and carnage has got to stop. I believe cracking down on gun traffickers and those who engage in straw purchases will greatly reduce these incidents that are occurring on the streets of many American cities. If the President wants to send the Feds to Chicago, he can start by advocating for strong legislation (H.R. 810) that will hold people accountable and go after the very people who are putting the guns in the hands of criminals.”
Named for two teenagers who were shot and killed in random acts of gun fire in their hometowns, the law could go a long way to reducing the flow of illegal guns in cities across the country that have been dealing with a spike in shootings and gun deaths. In 2013 Pendelton was a 15-year-old Chicago honor student who had just returned from performing at President Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremonies when she was shot and killed while walking home from school. Pryear was a 17-year old New York honor student when she was struck and killed while dancing at a party with friends in 2009. Their deaths rocked the nation and led to heightened gun control advocacy.
“In addition to taking on these straw purchases we need to also take a look at the other side of violence,” Rush said. “There are clear economic and social factors that contribute to the climate in cities like Chicago where people choose violence over conflict resolution. My constituents need access to social services, mental health and domestic violence programs, jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities, as well as access to capital. Until we address all factors of violence our neighborhoods will remain under siege from people who need serious in navigating the racial and economic divide.”