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These Cartel Gun Traffickers Would Be Free if Ted Cruz Had His Way

Gun trafficking was legal until President Biden signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.

Washington DC GIFFORDS, the gun violence prevention group led by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, released the following statement after the Department of Justice (DOJ) arrested five men in Texas on gun trafficking charges. The men were planning on trafficking more than 100 firearms across the border to a Mexican drug cartel. Neither gun trafficking nor straw purchasing were federal crimes until President Biden signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) in June 2022. Senator Ted Cruz voted against the bill and attacked it in the press. 

Gladis Merino, GIFFORDS Political Director

“Thanks to Joe Biden’s hard work assembling a coalition of Democrats and Republicans to keep communities safe, five dangerous gun traffickers are off the street and out of business. But if Senator Cruz and the gun lobby had gotten their way, these five men who supplied military-grade weapons to violent drug cartels would be allowed to do so again and again. Texans are sick of politicians who protect gun industry profits, not our children.”

Background on gun trafficking:

  • Gun trafficking is a serious problem in the United States. From 2017 to 2021, approximately one-third of traced crime guns were used outside the original state of sale, and nearly 46% of all traced crime guns over this period were recovered less than three years after their purchase.
  • The BSCA made straw purchasing and firearms trafficking federal crimes, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. 
  • Prior to the BSCA’s enactment in 2022, there was no federal statute specifically prohibiting gun trafficking or straw purchasing by name. Federal prosecutors attempting to police these activities were forced to bring charges under other federal criminal provisions that largely focused on the end-user, or possessor, of a firearm. As a result, prior to 2022, three out of every four federal weapons prosecutions were for simple illegal gun possession, rather than prosecutions targeting straw purchasing and gun trafficking.



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