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Conn. Lawmakers Propose Measure To Strengthen Penalty For Gun Trafficking

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (CBSNewYork) - Elected officials and members of the law enforcement community in Connecticut gathered Monday morning to push federal gun trafficking legislation.

Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy have co-sponsored a measure that would impose stiff penalties against buyers and sellers involved in illegal trafficking of firearms.

Background checks are required for those who buy guns, but the senators have proposed harsher restrictions on so-called straw purchases, which skirt the rules.

"The problem is that there are thousands of straw purchasers out there who go into a gun store and buy weapons, then turn around and sell them to people who are not legally allowed to own a gun," Sen. Chris Murphy told WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau. "Right now, it is not specifically illegal to traffic in guns - buy them from a licensed dealer and then turn around and sell them to people that shouldn't own guns. The legislation we're talking about today would make it a very specific crime to illegally traffic in guns."

Conn. Lawmakers Propose Measure To Strengthen Penalty For Gun Trafficking

Illegally owned and stolen guns are the weapons used most in crimes committed in Connecticut and across the country, Murphy added.

Murphy said right now, illegal gun trafficking carries a penalty of up to two years in jail. Under the proposed legislation, prison time for offenders would surge to 20 years. In some cases, a punishment of life in prison would be handed down.

Blumenthal has also proposed a measure to impose background checks on ammunition purchases, to crack down on illegal gun use.

Gun control has moved back into the spotlight following the school shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. on Dec. 14.

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