New Toolkit Outlines Key Steps to Reducing Gun Trafficking

Suspects are lined up as weapons are displayed to the media by the Mexican Navy in Mexico City June 9, 2011. According to the Mexican Navy, 204 rifles, 11 guns, 15 hand grenades, uniforms of the Mexican navy and of the U.S. army, over 29,000 cartridges and over 200 kg (441 pounds) of cocaine and were seized in an operation against the Zetas drug cartel in Coahuila and Nuevo Leon in the north of Mexico. REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez (MEXICO - Tags: CRIME LAW MILITARY)

Research shows again and again that the guns used in deadly shootings and other crimes are often trafficked from states with weak gun laws, like Georgia and West Virginia, to states with stronger laws, like California and New York. In the absence of Congressional action to combat this kind of crime, the Law Center and Americans for Responsible Solutions are proud to release Commonsense Solutions: State Laws to Reduce Gun Trafficking, the latest in our series of toolkits aiming to protect the public from gun violence.

The report outlines the key steps state lawmakers can take to address the shortcomings in federal law and help protect communities from gun violence. Those steps include:

  • Enacting stronger laws to prohibit straw purchases, which involve one person buying a gun on behalf of another, with an exception for gifts.
  • Prohibiting gun trafficking itself, defined to include all gun transfers that a person should know are likely to put guns in the hands of people who are likely to misuse them.
  • Requiring gun dealers to use responsible business practices to ensure that they do not contribute to gun trafficking.
  • Requiring gun owners to report lost or stolen guns to law enforcement.

Lawmakers in statehouses across the country have a responsibility to stand up to the gun lobby and legislate for public safety by passing smart gun laws designed to stem the flow of illegal guns into the hands of dangerous people. This toolkit outlines the way legislators can take immediate action to safeguard communities against this pervasive threat.

To see which states make the grade when it comes to smart gun laws, see our annual Gun Law State Scorecard.

Check out our other Commonsense Solutions toolkits:

State Laws to Protect Kids from Unintended Shootings

State Laws to Address Gun Violence Against Women

State Laws to Expand Background Checks for Unlicensed Gun Sales

How State Laws Can Reduce Gun Deaths Associated with Mental Illness

Law Center and ARS Release Commonsense Solutions Toolkit on Protecting Kids from Unintended Shootings

We know the fight to end gun violence cannot be won alone—which is why we’ve spent the last year partnering with one of the movement’s most powerful, active organizations, Americans for Responsible Solutions. We’re proud to release the latest in our series of Commonsense Solutions toolkits—this installment addresses the urgent need to protect children from firearms.

Commonsense Solutions: State Gun Laws to Protect Kids from Unintended Shootings is a comprehensive legal resource that offers detailed proposals for smart gun laws and in-home best practices to keep kids from accessing firearms. Our recommendations include child access prevention laws, safe storage methods, and requirements that gun dealers provide safety information.

Too many families have needlessly suffered the devastation of a child lost to an unlocked gun. Almost 1.7 million children under the age of 18 live in homes with loaded, unlocked guns, making them 16 times more likely to be killed in unintentional shootings than in other high-income countries. Commonsense requirements for gun storage and handling can protect the littlest among us from preventable tragedies.

Check out our other Commonsense Solutions toolkits:

State Laws to Address Gun Violence Against Women

State Laws to Expand Background Checks for Unlicensed Gun Sales

How State Laws Can Reduce Gun Deaths Associated with Mental Illness

Commonsense Solutions: State Laws to Expand Background Checks for Unlicensed Gun Sales

The single biggest gap in our nation’s gun laws is the lack of a background check requirement when a gun is sold by an unlicensed individual. Unlike licensed gun dealers, unlicensed “private” sellers are not required to conduct background checks on gun purchasers. This gap allows thousands of dangerous people, including convicted felons, domestic abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill, to acquire guns every year, even though they are legally ineligible to possess them.

As part of our ongoing partnership, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and Americans for Responsible Solutions have created the third in our series of Commonsense Solutions toolkits. These comprehensive resources for legislators and advocates explore the many facets of America’s gun violence epidemic through distinct lenses, such as domestic violence and mental health. Commonsense Solutions: State Laws to Expand Background Checks for Unlicensed Gun Sales addresses the private sale background check gap and provides detailed, real-world solutions for state legislators to pass universal background checks and save lives.

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Law Center and Americans for Responsible Solutions Release Second Commonsense Solutions Toolkit on Guns and Domestic Violence

 

One of the most overlooked aspects of the gun debate in America is the deadly connection between guns and domestic violence. As part of our ongoing partnership with Americans for Responsible Solutions, the Law Center has developed Commonsense Solutions: State Laws to Address Gun Violence Against Women. This toolkit for legislators and advocates both documents existing laws on guns and domestic violence and offers suggestions for commonsense gun laws to better protect victims of domestic violence.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and we strongly believe that by implementing smart gun laws, we can reduce the number of domestic violence incidents that end in firearm-related deaths or injuries. While men and children can also be victims of domestic violence, women are particularly at risk.

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The Commonsense Gun Laws Partnership: A Collaboration Dedicated to Preventing Gun Violence

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Earlier this year, we announced an exciting new partnership between the Law Center and Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), the organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, retired combat veteran and NASA astronaut Mark Kelly. Together, we are committed to bringing some sanity to our nation’s gun laws.

With our more than 20 years of research and knowledge on the nation’s gun laws, and the powerful grassroots network cultivated by Americans for Responsible Solutions, together we are producing tools that will empower lawmakers and community members to stop gun violence before it happens.

The Law Center and Americans for Responsible Solutions will assist legislators by creating a series of toolkits that will aid in developing solutions to protect communities from gun violence while ensuring that the legislation complies with the Second Amendment. The toolkits on each topic will provide:

  • Evidence of the particular gap in current laws that perpetuate gun violence;
  • Effective, tested solutions to close the loophole;
  • Policy rationale for action;
  • Legal basis for new laws; and
  • Most importantly – straight-forward features of the policies that will guide legislative drafting.

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