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New Federal Gun Trafficking Law Leading to Prosecutions, Gun Seizures

Feds have confiscated more than a thousand guns and charged more than 250 people under the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, a gun trafficking law passed last year, the Washington Post reports. Of the 207 defendants prosecuted under the act through the end of October, 80 were charged with violating the law’s provision against straw purchasers — people who buy guns on behalf of other people who typically are not legally allowed to own a weapon because of criminal history or other reasons. The law created two criminal statues prohibiting firearms trafficking and straw purchasing and allows for stronger prison penalties, in particular for straw purchases. The new law also steered hundreds of millions of dollars to mental-health treatment and strengthened background checks.

Dena Iverson, a Justice Department spokeswoman, called the law “a monumental” achievement and the “first significant gun safety legislation in decades.” Achievements credits to the law include the seizure of over 1,300 guns, including 190 AR-style rifles that are frequently a weapon of choice in mass shooting attacks, according to figures compiled by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). Lawmakers began working on the legislation in the wake of the mass killing at an elementary school in Uvalde, Tex., which killed 21 people, most of them small children.


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