Local, Park Forest, Politics

Reps. Kelly, Casten Take Aim at Illinois Gun Trafficking

Washington, D.C.-(ENEWSPF)- Today, U.S. Representatives Sean Casten (IL-06) and Robin Kelly (IL-02) introduced the Gun Trafficker Detection Act. The goal is to cut down on gun trafficking in Illinois. This bill would do that. The bill would require gun owners to report a lost or stolen gun within 48 hours.

Illinois has taken steps in its state government to prevent gun violence. Weak gun laws undermine these efforts in neighboring states like Indiana and Wisconsin. In Illinois in 2019, guns trafficked across state lines comprise about 63% of the total number of illegally possessed guns. Theft diverts firearms from lawful commerce. Consequently, instead of lawful ownership, they fall into criminal hands. The primary source of stolen firearms is private citizens’ vehicles, homes, and persons. Altogether, more than 95% of stolen guns originate via thefts from private citizens. Federal laws and most states do not require private individuals to report the theft of a firearm. In contrast, the Gun Trafficker Detection Act will prevent further trafficking of illegal guns. It will decrease the number of violent crimes involving guns by requiring gun owners to report lost or stolen guns.

A Matter of Safety

“No one is safe until all of us are safe,” said Rep. Robin Kelly (IL-02). “Gun trafficking puts more guns on our streets and in our communities and puts people like my constituents in harm’s way. The Gun Trafficker Detection Act will support local officials to keep our communities safe and help prevent illegal guns from taking more lives.” 

Rep. Sean Casten said, “The people of Illinois deserve to feel safe and protected against gun violence. Our state laws are continually undermined by the insufficient gun safety laws of our neighboring states, enabling traffickers to bring deadly weapons across our borders and into the hands of those who should not have them. Each year, we see thousands of stolen or trafficked guns used in violent crime. The Gun Trafficker Detection Act will help law enforcement address this issue with the seriousness it demands and prevent needless deaths caused in our communities by trafficked weapons.”

“The Gun Trafficker Detection Act is a crucial step in preventing the trafficking of illegal guns and reducing the devastating impact of gun violence in our communities. By requiring gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms within 48 hours, this legislation will help law enforcement identify and prosecute traffickers who often use this loophole to avoid accountability and put lives at risk. Brady is proud to endorse this critical bill and urges Congress to act swiftly to pass it,” said Brady President Kris Brown.

Lost and Stolen Firearms

Adzi Vokhiwa, Federal Affairs Director of Giffords, said “Lost and stolen firearms pose a significant risk to public safety and are often recovered at the scene of a crime. When firearms are not reported as lost or stolen, law enforcement cannot investigate the path of the firearm from lawful ownership to the perpetration of the crime. The Gun Trafficker Detection Act would require that lost and stolen firearms be reported to police, ensuring that law enforcement gets near real-time information about the loss or theft of firearms and can potentially disrupt gun trafficking operations that target lawful gun owners and divert their weapons into the illicit market. We thank Representative Casten for his leadership on this important issue.” 


The Gun Trafficker Detection Act would help end gun trafficking. It would greatly diminish future violent crimes related to gun violence in the US. Federal law requires firearm dealers to report lost or stolen firearms to local authorities. Additionally, they must also report to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). But the law does not currently require gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement.

Specifically, the Gun Trafficker Detection Act would prevent further trafficking of illegal guns by:

  1. Requiring gun owners to report their gun lost or stolen within 48 hours.
  2. Helping law enforcement identify and prosecute gun traffickers. This includes anyone who makes a claim of a lost or stolen gun. The weapon must turn up only once at a crime scene across state lines.
  3. Making traffickers liable for any damage done by their guns.
  4. Prohibiting repeat violators from purchasing a gun for 5 years.
  5. Creating a web-based portal to report a firearm as missing or stolen.

The text of the bill is here. 

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and Giffords endorse the Gun Trafficker Detection Act.