Legislation Would Penalize Gun Sellers Who Give Firearms To Criminals

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia is trying to stop gun dealers, both federally licensed and private, from selling to criminals. The Responsible Transfer of Firearms Act would hold gun dealers liable when they sell firearms to those who are prohibited from owning guns.

“As recent tragedies in Virginia and across the country have shown, the gun laws in our country have done little to stem senseless gun violence,” Kaine said in a statement, according to The Hill. “These numbing incidents in urban, rural and suburban communities are made worse by the lack of accountability in those instances where the tragedy might have been prevented.”

It’s not just criminals who are currently prohibited from buying firearms. Fugitives, undocumented immigrants, veterans who have been dishonorably discharged, and those deemed mentally unfit are also prohibited from owning weapons, Newsplex reported.

Kaine said it’s difficult to hold gun sellers accountable now because they can argue they were unaware the purchaser wasn’t allowed to obtain a firearm.

"[The Responsible Transfer of Firearms Act] would hold a seller or transferor of firearms criminally liable should they fail to demonstrate they took reasonable steps to prevent a weapon from falling into prohibited hands," Kaine said.

Despite the tragic and very public shooting of the two Virginia journalists, Kaine may have a difficult time getting the legislation passed through the Republican-dominated House and Senate.

Sources: Newsplex, The Hill Image via M&R Glasgow/Flickr