3:07pm March 11, 2013

As Rand Paul Droned: Senate Committee Passes Urban Gun Plan




hile the bulk of political theater watchers were mesmerized by Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s 12 hour filibuster challenging the nomination of John Brennan, the Senate Judiciary Committee was busy passing along its first gun control law in years.

Late last week, they approved a bill that would increase the penalties on “straw purchases” gun buyers. The law would also elevate the crime to a felony.  ”Straw purchases,” are the act of buying firearms for the sole purposes of selling them someone who could not pass a background check.

This law, which was part of President Obama’s recently announced gun control agenda, would be a critical weapon to fight urban gun violence.

The legislation is named after 15-year old Chicago high school student Hadiya Pendleton.  Pendleton was tragically killed in January after being caught in the cross-fire during a dispute she had nothing to do with. The teen marched with her band mates from  King’s College Prep at President Obama’s inauguration only two weeks prior to her death.  Homicides in Chicago topped 500 last year for the first time since 2008. And Pendleton was the 42nd killing in the month of January.

“According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), straw purchasers “represent a significant overall crime and public safety problem,” the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence notes, adding, “When a person with a clean background intentionally buys firearms for prohibited persons, she or he thwarts the background check requirement and allows firearms to be funneled to criminals, domestic abusers and gangs.”

A 2000 ATF study linked 26,000 illegally trafficked firearms with straw purchases and found that almost half or 46% was the most common channel of illegal gun trafficking.

By a vote of 11 to 7, all the Democrats of the Senate Judiciary committee joined by Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa voted to pass along the measure to the full Senate.

The remaining Republicans on the committee would rather do nothing than do something. John Comyn of Texas said the legislation would only show that they “are doing something” but would not be effective in halting gun crimes.

“Sadly, we seem to be focused on window dressing and risk putting symbolism over substance,” Cornyn Cormyn said.
Well, Mr. Comyn, God-forbid Congress be seen doing something.

Further, legislation created to curb or slow down the flow of illegal guns into the streets would indeed at least reduce gun access, even if it would not eliminate gun crimes altogether.

The background check is so extensive that many of those who are the usual culprits to crime in the inner city would not qualify to own a gun legally.

Currently, lying on your gun purchasing application would subject the straw purchaser to a $250,000 fine and up to 10 years in federal prison or subject to a variety of state laws, depending on where the purchase was made.

Turning the crime into a felony with increased penalties may not eliminate gun traffickers but it could do something to lessen the number of gun traffickers.

“”For straw purchasers, those who are going to buy guns and turn them over to the thugs and criminals, get ready. When this bill becomes law, you’re gonna deal with hard-time federal crime,” Illinois Sentaor and Bill Sponsor Dick Durbin said today. “Hard-time federal crime. Let the word on the street get out. Girlfriends, think twice. Is it worth 15 years in prison to buy that gun?”

Something is better than nothing, after all.


About the Author

Jeneba Ghatt
Jeneba Jalloh Ghatt represents small, women, and minority owned business and technology companies at The Ghatt Law Group LLC, the nations’ first communications law firm owned by women and minorities. She's won landmark cases on behalf of her clients which include national civil rights and public interest organizations. In addition to actively authoring several blogs, being a radio show host and sitting on the boards of three non-profits, she is a tech junkie who has been developing online web content since the very early years of the Internet, 1991 to be precise! Follow her on Twitter at @Jenebaspeaks, on her blog, Jenebaspeaks, which covers the intersection of politics and technology or on her Politics of Raising Children blog at The Washington Times Communities section. The ideas and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author, and have complete editorial independence from any Politic365 partners, sponsors, or advertisers. For additional information about Politic365, please visit http://politic365.com/about/.



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  1. [...] to OK gun background checksNOLA.comU.S. Senate panel OKs gun background check billNorthJersey.comAs Rand Paul Droned: Senate Committee Passes Urban Gun PlanPolitic365Legalbrief (subscription)all 31 news [...]

  2. [...] As Politic365 reported before, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed a similar bill last week. [...]

  3. Inclusion, feely-touchy and definitely morphing into their new set pattern. John McCain will continue to use the term, “illegal Immigrant,” and Virginia’s Bob McDonnell signed a more restrictive Voter ID restriction into law. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, both TEA-type radical extremes have vowed to filibuster the gun control bill coming to the Senate floor. Bigotry, prejudice and intolerance has seeped into the pores of every TEA-Republican in Congress since the severe thumping of both McCain and Romney by president Obama. Jealousy has reared it’s ugly head. By all means let’s pay attention to the words written and spoken by these Senators and Representatives who want to hold immigrants hostage over their status. Every Senator and Representative, no matter which party they call themselves by, will be noted in up-coming votes in Congress. The voting Hispanic/Latino bloc, voters of color and women will make their views clearly and decisively in known in 2014, 2016 and 2018. The 2014 Mid-term is a-coming! And then 2016, Hillary takes the reins! Get registered and V.O.T.E.(Vote Out The Encumberances).

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