Responding to reports that Mexican drug cartels have bulked up on weapons bought north of the border, House Democrats are pushing legislation aimed at combating the trafficking of U.S—purchased guns to the cartels.
The bill, called the Stop Gun Trafficking and Strengthen Law Enforcement Act of 2011, would make gun trafficking a crime under a new federal statute.
Its sponsor, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., said at a news conference that currently, there is no federal statute that outlaws gun trafficking to criminal organizations. She called for open discussions with the National Rifle Association on passing the measure. The NRA is a staunch opponent of legislation it views as restricting gun owners’ rights under the Second Amendment.
“This is not a second amendment issue,’’ said Dennis Henigan, the acting president of the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence. “There is not a right to arm a cartel with the firepower of an army.’’
The Democrats’ proposal, unlikely to gain traction in the Republican-controlled House, comes on the heels of controversy over the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ Operation Fast and Furious, in which ATF agents lost control of hundreds of guns sold in at firearms outlets in Arizona to “straw purchasers,” or people intending to pass the weapon off to others.
Some of the guns surfaced again at crime scenes in Mexico and the United States, including the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry on Dec. 14, 2010, in southern Arizona.
Ed’s note: Straw purchases are already illegal. Giving guns to felons or those engaging in the drug trade is illegal. Besides, the ATF is singlehandedly arming the cartels more than any individual ever could. Either way, the bill is DOA in the House.
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