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Reps. Kelly, Casten introduce bill aimed at reducing gun trafficking in Illinois

U.S. Reps. Robin Kelly (Ill.-2) and Sean Casten (Ill.-6) introduced the Gun Trafficker Detection Act on Thursday, March 30, to require gun owners to report if their gun is lost or stolen within 48 hours.

The state’s efforts at gun control are often undermined by weak gun laws in neighboring states like Indiana and Wisconsin, according to a news release from the representatives.

In Illinois in 2019, guns trafficked across state lines comprised about 63% of the total number of illegally possessed guns. Theft reportedly is a significant avenue through which these illegally possessed firearms are diverted from lawful commerce and ownership into criminal hands.

The primary source of stolen firearms is theft from private citizens’ vehicles, homes, and persons. While more than 95% of stolen guns originate via thefts from private citizens, federal laws and most states do not require private individuals to report the theft of a firearm. The Gun Trafficker Detection Act is poised to prevent further trafficking of illegal guns and decrease the number of violent crimes involving guns by requiring gun owners to report if their gun is lost or stolen. 

“No one is safe until all of us are safe,” Kelly said. “Gun trafficking puts more guns on our streets and in our communities and puts people like my constituents in harm’s way. The Gun Trafficker Detection Act will support local officials to keep our communities safe and help prevent illegal guns from taking more lives.” 

“The people of Illinois deserve to feel safe and protected against gun violence. Our state laws are continually undermined by the insufficient gun safety laws of our neighboring states, enabling traffickers to bring deadly weapons across our borders and into the hands of those who should not have them,” Casten said. “Each year, we see thousands of stolen or trafficked guns used in violent crime. The Gun Trafficker Detection Act will help law enforcement address this issue with the seriousness it demands and prevent needless deaths caused in our communities by trafficked weapons.”

Specifically, the Gun Trafficker Detection Act would prevent further trafficking of illegal guns by:

  • Requiring gun owners to report their gun lost or stolen within 48 hours.
  • Helping law enforcement identify and prosecute gun traffickers who often claim their gun was lost or stolen only once it turns up at a crime scene across state lines.
  • Making traffickers liable for any damage done by their guns.
  • Prohibiting repeat violators from purchasing a gun for five years.
  • Creating a web-based portal to report a firearm as missing or stolen.

The text of the bill can be found here.

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