Kirk, Gillibrand Introduced S.1760 to Make Gun Trafficking a Federal Crime; Sixty Percent of Illegal Guns in Chicago Come From Out of State
CHICAGO –-(ENEWSPF)–October 19, 2015. U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) today received the Abraham Lincoln Award from the Illinois Coalition Against Handgun Violence (ICHV) in recognition of his leadership on legislation to make gun trafficking a federal crime and strengthen background checks. Senator Kirk is the first Republican U.S. Senator to receive the award.
“Illinois families shouldn’t have to live in fear of armed gangs and criminals,” Senator Kirk said. “The Gillibrand-Kirk bill would make it illegal to bring guns used for criminal activity into Chicago – where Indiana, Wisconsin and Mississippi alone are responsible for 30 percent of guns at crime scenes.”
“Senator Kirk was there for us when we needed him most, and crossed party lines to support universal background checks. His courage and leadership truly symbolize the purpose of the Lincoln Award,” said ICHV Executive Director Colleen Daley. “As much as we fight at the local level for common sense gun laws, the fact remains that more than 60 percent of all crime guns in Chicago are illegally trafficked from states with weaker gun laws, like Indiana and Mississippi. The Senator’s support on this issue is critical to public safety, and we are incredibly grateful to him.”
The Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence is a statewide, non-profit organization that works to reduce death and injury caused by guns. Previous winners of the Lincoln Award include New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, President Bill Clinton, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
Senator Kirk has been a leading voice in the Senate for efforts to reduce gang and gun violence. Since 2011, Senator Kirk, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has secured $35 million to fight “gangs of national significance,” funding that established seven U.S. Marshals counter-gang units nationwide, including one in Chicago, to investigate, arrest and prosecute gang members. Senator Kirk secured another $18.5 million in funding in the fiscal year (FY) 2016 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations bill, which awaits final passage by the Senate.
Over the last two years, Chicago has received more than $2.5 million in funding, including:
$1.79million created the U.S. Marshals Great Lakes Fugitive Task Force Counter Gang Unit;
$500,000 to prosecute gangs through the Violent Gang and Gun Crime Reduction program; and
$222,000 for the Gang and Youth Violence Education and Prevention Program.
Senator Kirk, along with Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, recently highlighted the arrests of 461 fugitives, gang members and violent criminals in Illinois by the Marshals Counter Gang Unit.
According to a report by the City of Chicago, police in Chicago collect seven times as many guns used in crimes as in NYC, per capita. Sixty percent of those guns come from out of state, including 30 percent from Indiana, Wisconsin and Mississippi – where there are no background checks at gun shows or on the Internet.
Over a recent five-year period, 301 guns in Chicago were traced to Clarksdale, Miss., including over 50 guns from the “Krossroads” pawn shop. Some of those guns ended up in the hands of the Gangster Disciples and other violent street gangs.
Senator Kirk and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) wrote S. 1760, Hadiya Pendleton and Nyasia Pryear-Yard Gun Trafficking and Crime Prevention Act, to make the trafficking of illegal guns a federal crime and provide tools for law enforcement to help get illegal guns off the streets. The bill would:
Make it a federal crime to knowingly buy or sell weapons to commit a crime.
Stop straw purchasers who buy guns for gang members or other criminals.
Make it a federal crime to lie to the ATF regarding a gun sale.
Senator Kirk in 2013 joined Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) in negotiating and authoring an amendment to the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act (S. Amdt. 715 to S. 649) to require background checks at gun shows and online, and to improve the database that stops sales to criminals and the mentally ill (National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS). This bill failed to pass the Senate but could be reintroduced at any time.
Tracing Criminal Weapons
The ATF shares ballistic trace data through the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN). On average, there are 180 – 200 shootings per month in Chicago. Since the Crime Gun Intelligence Center opened, law enforcement has had 90 – 100 ballistic “hits” per month to connect shell casings recovered from crimes.
Senator Kirk is expanding the NIBIN program through CJS appropriations with a $22 million increase and would like law enforcement in Rockford and Peoria to have the same technology and access to the trace database as they do in Chicago.