Durbin Statement on New Bipartisan Gun Safety Framework

SPRINGFIELD – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today released the following statement after a bipartisan group of Senators announced a common sense new proposal to help keep America’s children and communities safe from the gun violence epidemic:

“We have been elected to the United States Senate to respond to American crises.  Each of the elements in this bipartisan gun safety package has the potential to save lives.  I continue to believe military-style assault weapons that can shred the bodies of their victims have no place in civilian use—but we cannot let the perfect Congressional response be the enemy of the good.  Though this agreement falls short in this and other respects, it can and will make our nation safer.”

In addition to making improvements to the background check system, supporting red flag laws, enhancing school safety, and closing domestic violence loopholes, the bipartisan framework includes stronger penalties for straw purchasing—an issue that Durbin has been pushing for years.

“Chicago Police Officer Ella French lost her life last year to a convicted felon who was armed with a straw-purchased gun from across state lines.  I have been pushing for tougher penalties to help reduce illicit gun trafficking and straw purchases, which fuel violent crime in Chicago and cities across the country.  This bipartisan package contains an important provision that will clamp down on these killer purchasers and hold those who break the law responsible.”

Durbin is a lead sponsor of federal legislation to combat straw purchasing and illegal trafficking in firearms in order to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals.  The Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act of 2021 would, for the first time, make it an explicit federal crime, carrying felony penalties, to act as a straw purchaser of firearms, as opposed to current law, which treats straw purchases essentially as paperwork violations.