Sens. Leahy, Collins to introduce bill to curb firearms trafficking

Sens. Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahyOvernight Cybersecurity: Guccifer plea deal raises questions in Clinton probe Senate panel delays email privacy vote amid concerns Senate amendments could sink email privacy compromise MORE (D-Vt.) and Susan CollinsSusan CollinsGOP lawmaker: 'Republicans were wrong’ to block Garland Senate passes broad spending bill with .1B in Zika funds Senators unveil bill to overhaul apprenticeship programs MORE (R-Maine) will unveil legislation on Monday aimed at curbing the illegal trafficking of firearms.

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Collins’s spokesman Kevin Kelley told The Hill in an email that details about the bill were coming “shortly.” 

It’s unclear how the legislation would differ from Leahy’s previously introduced bill which would make it easier for federal law enforcement officials to crack down on so-called “straw purchasers.” 

But the news that Collins is on board with Leahy’s effort is the latest evidence of a growing bipartisan consensus to take at least some steps to stem the nation’s epidemic of gun violence.

Leahy’s earlier bill would add a new provision to the criminal code to make it illegal to purchase firearms on behalf of persons who are prohibited from owning them. Federal prosecutors now have little legal basis to file charges against gun traffickers and often must rely on technical paperwork violations to build their cases.

Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee was scheduled to mark up Leahy’s legislation, Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinSanders tests Wasserman Schultz Sunday shows preview: Bernie soldiers on Clinton’s email troubles deepen MORE’s (D-Calif.) renewal of the federal assault weapons ban, a measure introduced by Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerDem senators back Interior coal leasing review Trump and Sanders whip up debate buzz Boxer: Sanders appeals to young voters with grandpa effect MORE (D-Calif.) to increase federal grants for school safety, and Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerSanders tests Wasserman Schultz Puerto Rico debt relief faces serious challenges in Senate Overnight Healthcare: House, Senate on collision course over Zika funding MORE’s (D-N.Y.) bill to expand background checks on private gun sales.

The mark-up was delayed until this week, to give Schumer more time to work out a deal with Republicans, who say expanded background checks can’t include any semblance of a national registry to track gun purchases.

Lawmakers have resumed debate over gun control in the aftermath of December’s tragic shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.

While President Obama is pushing for bans on assault weapons and high-capacity clips as well as mandatory background checks, it is uncertain which of these measures can pass. The nation’s gun lobby and GOP lawmakers have vowed to wage a fierce fight against any new gun ownership restrictions.

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidSanders tests Wasserman Schultz Nearly 400 House bills stuck in Senate limbo Puerto Rico debt relief faces serious challenges in Senate MORE (D-Nev.) has said however that he would allow a floor vote on any legislation which passes through committee. And on Sunday, Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerIn House GOP, Ryan endorsement of Trump seen as inevitable House GOP faces dilemma on spending bills Overnight Finance: Puerto Rico bill clears panel | IRS chief vows to finish term | Bill would require nominees to release tax returns MORE (R-Ohio) said the House would consider any gun-control measures passed by the Senate.

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