Social Policy & Politics Program | Policy Memo

Why We Need a Federal Gun Trafficking Law

by Jim Kessler, Lanae Erickson Hatalsky and Sarah Trumble

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Currently, there is no federal law against gun trafficking. That needs to change if we are going to keep guns out of the wrong hands. This memo explains why we need a federal gun trafficking law, and what it should contain.

  • Nine of 10 crime guns are wielded by someone other than the original purchaser, and 1 in 3 have crossed state lines.
  • Existing federal laws are anemic—prosecutors can’t use paperwork violations to scare seasoned gun traffickers.
  • We need new laws to give law enforcement the tools to crack down on straw purchasers (who buy guns for someone else), traffickers, and dirty gun dealers who supply the black market.

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