Casten Introduces Bill to Reduce Gun Trafficking

February 12, 2020
Press Release
Congressman’s bill would create a federal requirement that gun owners must report their gun if lost or stolen within 48 hours

Washington, D.C. – Today, in honor of the victims of the Aurora, Illinois shooting that occurred this week last year, U.S Representatives Sean Casten (IL-06), Robin Kelly (IL-02) and Ted Deutch (FL-22) introduced the Gun Trafficker Detection Act. The bill would create a federal requirement that gun owners must report their gun if lost or stolen within 48 hours. This helps law enforcement identify and prosecute traffickers, who often claim their gun was lost or stolen when it turns up at a crime scene across state lines. The bill also makes traffickers liable for any damage done by their guns and makes repeat violators ineligible to buy guns for five years.

Efforts by states like Illinois to prevent gun violence are often undermined by looser gun laws in neighboring states like Indiana. In Chicago, guns trafficked across state lines comprise about 60% of the total number of illegally possessed guns. This has a huge effect on Chicago, where over 10,000 illegally possessed weapons were seized in 2019. The Gun Trafficker Detection Act is poised to stem this onslaught.

Rep. Casten said, “The people of Illinois have been loud and clear: We want to keep our friends and family safe from the scourge of gun violence. But our state laws are continually undermined by the pitiful gun safety laws of our neighboring states, enabling traffickers to bring deadly weapons across our borders and into hands of those who should not have them. The Gun Trafficker Detection Act will help law enforcement address this issue with the seriousness it demands. I am proud to stand with Representatives Kelly and Deutch in demanding traffickers be held responsible for the violence and needless deaths caused in our communities by their weapons.”

“Trafficked firearms continue to be the primary source of crime guns in Chicagoland. In order to end the violence, it’s critical that we stem the flow of illegal guns into our city, largely from neighboring states with weak or non-existent gun safety laws,” said Rep. Robin Kelly, Vice Chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. “Any responsible gun owner should alert law enforcement if their firearm is stolen or lost; failure to take this responsible and commonsense action directly contributes to gun violence that continues plague too many communities.”

Rep. Deutch said, “There must be accountability for gun owners whose lost or missing guns are trafficked and repeatedly used in crimes. This bill is about cracking down on the dangerous and illegal streams of firearms in our communities that contribute to the gun violence crisis. Requiring responsible owners to act responsibly is an important step in curbing the complex problem of gun violence in this country.”

The Gun Trafficker Detection Act is endorsed by Everytown for Gun Safety, Newtown Action, March for Our Lives, Giffords, and the Brady Campaign. This week also marks the 2nd anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that killed 14 students and three staff members and the 1st anniversary of the Henry Pratt Company shooting in Aurora, Illinois that left five people dead. Last year, Casten spoke on the House floor to honor the victims of Aurora.