02/06/2013 02:19 pm ET Updated Feb 06, 2013

Gun Trafficking Bill Gains More House Republican Supporters

WASHINGTON -- A bill to make firearms trafficking a federal crime gained more House Republican support on Wednesday, a sign that perhaps some kind of gun control legislation could actually move in the House.

The Gun Trafficking Prevention Act of 2013 was already a bipartisan bill when it was introduced Tuesday. It had two Democratic and two Republican cosponsors. The measure would add a federal statute to give law enforcement the ability to prosecute gun traffickers and crack down on "straw purchasers," or people who sell guns to those who otherwise aren't allowed to buy them.

But by Wednesday, it had another six cosponsors, three of whom are Republicans: Reps. Peter King (N.Y.), Michael Fitzpatrick (Penn.) and Michael Grimm (N.Y.). The additional Democrats who signed on are Reps. John Conyers (Mich.), Danny Davis (Ill.) and Ron Barber (Ariz.).

"I have long supported efforts to crack down on illegal gun trafficking," King said in a statement. "I am proud to be a part of a bipartisan group of members offering a solution to this problem.”

"Straw purchases are simply another vehicle through which prohibited persons can obtain weapons," Grimm said in a statement. "As a former law enforcement agent, I support strengthening the tools available to combat these transfers, so that we can make our communities safer by keeping weapons out of the hands of criminals and those who wish to do us harm."

Fitzpatrick said he is "proud" to add his name to the bill, which he said would go a long way to helping law enforcement and prosecutors "put those skirting our gun laws behind bars."

It is worth noting that Conyers is the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over gun legislation. A committee spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment on whether the committee expects to hold a hearing on the gun trafficking bill, or other gun proposals.

Senators, meanwhile, are pushing similar gun trafficking legislation, sponsored by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.).

House Republican leaders will ultimately decide which gun proposals, if any, will advance. A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said only that the gun trafficking bill is something that the committee will have to look at, and noted that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) controls the floor schedule. A Cantor spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.



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