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Quigley Introduces Legislation to Improve Gun Trace Data

Sep 10, 2019
Press Release

U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05) reintroduced the Trafficking Reduction and Criminal Enforcement (TRACE) Act, which cracks down on the illegal gun market by improving gun tracking data. The bill also repeals the Tiahrt Amendments, which heavily reduces law enforcement's pursuit of criminals who buy and sell illegal guns. 

"Law enforcement officials face illegal weapons in our communities every day. My legislation will close the loopholes that allow criminals to obtain firearms and will cut off traffickers’ supplies,” said Quigley. “Commonsense gun violence prevention is the only way to keep dangerous weapons out of the wrong hands and save lives.”

"For far too long, irresponsible gun dealers and traffickers have been shielded from accountability due to policies crafted by and passed at the behest of the gun lobby,” said Christian Heyne, Vice President for Policy for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “The TRACE Act will bring to light those in the firearms industry who are responsible for flooding our streets with guns, and makes sure we can trace those guns back to the traffickers profiting from this bloodshed."

While criminals often obtain firearms on the black market, those weapons generally originate from licensed dealers. Although most gun dealers follow the law, a significant portion of guns used in the commission of crimes come from a handful of unscrupulous vendors. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, almost 60 percent of guns used in crimes came from 1.2 percent of licensed dealers. 

The TRACE Act requires:

  • Background check records to be maintained for a minimum of 180 days. The Tiahrt Amendment currently requires 24-hour record destruction, making it nearly impossible to catch law-breaking gun dealers who falsify their records or track straw purchasers who buy guns on behalf of criminals.
  • Gun dealers to perform inventory checks to report lost and stolen guns, a measure currently prohibited under the Tiahrt Amendments. If law-abiding dealers reported inventories, the ATF would be much more effective at identifying lost and stole weapons and combating corrupt gun dealers.
  • Firearms would include a second, hidden serial number located inside the receiver, which could only be removed by dismantling the entire weapon. Violent criminals, including the perpetrator of the shootings at Virginia Tech, have attempted to thwart law enforcement by removing serial numbers on thousands of guns recovered in crimes each year.

This bill is endorsed by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Everytown for Gun Safety, and Violence Policy Center.