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Malliotakis Introduces Legislation Cracking Down on Illegal Purchase of Firearms

March 10, 2021

(WASHINGTON, DC) - Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11) introduced H.R.1642, the Prosecuting Gun Crimes Saves Lives Act, legislation that increases investigations and prosecutions of convicted felons, fugitives of justice and individuals who lie or forge information in an attempt to illegally purchase firearms.

"Over the past year, the number of shootings and murders in New York City have skyrocketed, drastically decreasing the quality of life and further putting residents at risk," said Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis."Our city and state have abdicated their responsibilities to keep the public safe and get illegal guns off our streets. My bill aims to give the feds more teeth to enforce laws that ensure those who attempt to skirt the system by lying and providing false information to purchase a firearm are held accountable."

Of the approximately 25.6 million people in 2017 who sought to purchase a firearm from a licensed dealer and were processed through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), 112,090 were denied by the FBI. 12,710 cases were referred to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Field Divisions for further investigation, where only 0.09% were actually prosecuted. Malliotakis' bill would direct the Attorney General, U.S. Attorney offices, and the ATF to prioritize prosecutions of persons who knowingly attempt to illegally purchase firearms, and provide them additional resources to effectively handle these cases as quickly as possible. The bill also directs regular communication between ATF and state and local law enforcement agencies regarding individuals for whom NICS has issued firearm transfer denials to equip law enforcement with the information they need to prevent persons from illegally purchasing, receiving or possessing firearms.

Malliotakis added: "Strong deterrent measures against knowingly purchasing a firearm illegally could have a chilling effect on the number of illegal firearm purchases we are seeing today, reducing the risk of mass shootings like those in Charleston, South Carolina and Sutherland Springs, Texas. It's unconscionable that the U.S. is not currently enforcing laws to decrease the chances that a violent individual can acquire a deadly weapon."

The Prosecuting Gun Crimes Saves Lives Act is part of a larger legislative package proposed by Republicans that brings forward targeted solutions to further improve school safety, support mental health, expand information sharing and address the root causes of gun violence. You can view Malliotakis' bill HERE, and the fact sheet below.