In what could be a test of how far gun control measures can make it through the U.S. House of Representatives, a bipartisan group of lawmakers will introduce a bill today that would make firearms trafficking a federal crime. It also would stiffen penalties for people to buy guns for someone who is prohibited from owning a firearm.
According to Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, a sponsor of the bill, it could have a "tremendous impact" in urban areas. In a Tuesday appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe with Republican Rep. Scott Rigell, he cited a case in Georgia in which a woman bought 64 guns for a convicted felon.
"And what does he do? He sends all of those guns to Oakland, which has much stricter gun regulations. And the next thing you know, police found those guns at various crime scenes," Cummings said, adding that "anyone who's thinking about buying a gun for someone who is prohibited from having a gun — that is, criminals — then they're going to be possibly subjected to a 20-year penalty."
The measure could be viewed as a sort of baby step toward more comprehensive legislation on issues like universal background checks and assault weapon bans. Too often, Cummings noted, lawmakers focus on the areas in which there is disagreement, instead of the issues on which there is common ground and in the end "absolutely nothing" gets done.
"Hopefully, we'll get through this and then we'll look at perhaps other things," he said. "But right now, we're concentrating on this because we know and we believe very strongly we can get it done."
BET Politics - Your source for the latest news, photos and videos illuminating key issues and personalities in African-American political life, plus commentary from some of our liveliest voices. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.