Op-ed: Jail sentences for straw purchasers of guns will reduce Chicago violence

Chicago police and federal prosecutors recently announced new task forces targeting straw purchasers and other traffickers of illegal guns. That effort will reduce gun violence in Chicago if investigations are followed by prosecution and jail sentences for offenders. Gang members can’t pass background checks and meet other requirements to buy guns from dealers, and they don’t want to be identified in the system as owners of guns used in criminal violence. Gangs get their guns from straw purchasers who buy guns from dealers in Illinois or elsewhere and then resell to gang members. Or initial purchasers resell to others who in turn resell to gang members further down the chain. More than 100 anti-violence, victim, and other community groups, led by the Gun Violence Prevention Action Committee, have targeted straw purchasers in recent Illinois legislative efforts. A recent law mandates videotaping of all gun sales and requires gun stores to train sales personnel to recognize signs of straw purchases. And under a new piece of legislation passed by the Illinois House of Representatives in June, any resale of a gun after the initial purchase will require a background check of the purchaser and a record of the sale that will be accessible to search by law enforcement. A bullet casing on the sidewalk in the Chatham area of Chicago after the shootings of several people. Straw purchasers and other resellers already face serious potential consequences. It is a felony under state and federal law to purchase a gun with […]

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