Earlier this week, the Washington Post reported that a group of democratic and republican senators had agreed on the framework of an agreement for legislation aimed at reducing gun violence in the wake of mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde. The potential legislation would push states to enact “red flag” laws, require background checks for juvenile and mental health records, and create new federal criminal offenses for gun trafficking and straw purchases. There are few details regarding what kind of conduct will be at issue under these new criminal laws, what the potential penalties would be, or how they may be enforced.
Of course, there are already several federal criminal laws prohibiting gun trafficking and straw purchases. In fact, last summer, the DOJ announced it was creating several strike forces with the aim of prosecuting alleged gun traffickers throughout several jurisdictions. Attorney General Merrick Garland recently spoke at a press conference regarding the DOJ’s enforcement actions over the past year.