By Jonathan Easley - 04/17/13 02:30 PM EDT
Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) will unveil an alternative gun control bill on Wednesday that includes provisions making it easier to purchase and transport firearms across state lines.
Another pro-gun provision of the bill will allow military members to buy guns in the states where they’re stationed.
The announcement comes on a day when the Senate appears likely to block further debate on a bipartisan background checks bill. The Grassley-Cruz legislation shifts the debate from focusing solely on gun control reforms, to an area of debate that the 113th Congress hasn’t considered – reforms that ease restrictions on firearms.
In addition to the pro-gun measures, the Grassley-Cruz bill addresses some of the gun control reforms that have so far proved more palatable for senators weary of committing to comprehensive reform.
The bill would increase the resources available to prosecutors for violators of gun laws, and creates a “Cruz Task Force” to prosecute those who fail criminal background checks. The task force is funded through an Asset Forfeiture Fund.
The bill criminalizes straw purchasing and trafficking, measures Grassley supported in committee hearings on the gun control bill that will go before the Senate later this month. It also seeks to increase safety at schools, keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, and increases accountability for prosecutions at the executive level by requiring the Department of Justice to submit reports to Congress.
Grassley and Cruz will hold a press conference at 10:30 on Wednesday to unveil the legislation.