Senators announce deal on gun trafficking

WASHINGTON — Gun trafficking and the straw purchasing of firearms would become federal crimes under bipartisan legislation announced by five senators Monday.

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said the bill would establish tough penalties for those who buy a firearm or ammunition with the intent of transferring it to someone else. The measure would also make it a crime to smuggle firearms out of the United States.

Leahy said there is no federal law now that defines either gun trafficking or straw purchasing — when a person who can legally buy guns transfers those guns to criminals and others barred from gun ownership — as crimes.

The bill was crafted by Leahy, fellow Democrats Dick Durbin of Illinois and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, and Republicans Mark Kirk of Illinois and Susan Collins of Maine.

The bill will be taken up by the Judiciary Committee on Thursday as part of a package of four bills aimed at reducing gun violence. The others involve regulating assault weapons, enhancing school safety and requiring background checks for all firearm sales. The committee has taken a lead in considering the gun violence issue following the school shootings last December in Newtown, Conn.

The proposed legislation would make it a crime to transfer a weapon when a person has “reasonable cause to believe” that the firearm will be used in criminal activity. It contains exemptions for the transfer of a firearm as a gift, or in relation to a legitimate raffle or contest.

While existing law makes it a crime to smuggle firearms into the United States, the Senate proposal would also ban the smuggling of weapons out of the United States. That provision is specifically aimed at the trafficking of arms across the Southwest border.

More in Local News

Child porn found in forest treehouse and Mill Creek home

Daniel Wood, 56, has been charged with two counts of possession of child pornography.

The rules: You can’t put just anything on your vanity plate

The state keeps a “banned list” of character combinations that will automatically be denied.

Man arrested after robbery reported at Lynnwood Walgreens

He matched the description of a suspect in an earlier robbery reported about three miles away.

Driver killed in crash identified as Monroe man

Anthony Ray Vannelli Jr. died of blunt force injuries. He was 37.

Edmonds man gets nearly 14 years for murder of roommate

Derrick Crawford, 22, admitted that he shot and intended to kill 27-year-old Joshua Werner.

Motorcyclist seriously hurt in Everett hit-and-run

Police are searching for the driver and a gray Dodge Stratus with extensive front-end damage.

As expected, 92 to be laid off by Stanwood’s Twin City Foods

The frozen-vegetables processor announced last year it was moving all operations to Pasco.

Demolition begins on buildings acquired for courthouse remodel

The start date for major construction has been pushed back, but is still projected to wrap up in 2021.

Developer denied more time to submit plans for Woodway project

BSRE Point Wells wants to refine its plans for more than 3,000 units in towers of up to 17 stories.

Most Read