New York Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney on Tuesday said the U.S. Justice Department should do a better job enforcing gun trafficking laws to prevent violence at the border.
“Certainly we want more enforcement … but it was law enforcement who testified before the Committee [on Oversight and Government Reform] and asked for a law that made trafficking in guns a felony,” said Maloney, a sponsor of a new anti-gun trafficking bill.
“We need to make trafficking in guns a felony. We are the most heavily armed country in the world, and sometimes those guns go to criminals — particularly the gun violence on the borders and in Mexico, [those] are American guns going there.”
Maloney said the Stop Gun Trafficking and Strengthen Law Enforcement Act would give “law enforcement the tools they need to do their job.”
“It prohibits the transfer of a gun when an individual knows the gun will be transferred to a person who is prohibited by law from carrying a gun or to a person who intends to use the gun illegally,” she said.
“This is a sensible solution to a severe problem and will ensure that weapons do not end up in the hands of criminals — and drug cartels — by specifically prohibiting firearms trafficking in the criminal code.”
The Justice Department had previously reported on the state of the borders through its National Drug Intelligence Center, by releasing annual Drug Threat Assessments, which included information about violence and drug trafficking.
However, the department told The Daily Caller that the program has been shut down for budgetary reasons. (RELATED: Did budget cuts affect border security?)
In its last report, the NDIC called the U.S.-Mexico border a “war zone” where “civil authorities, law enforcement agencies as well as citizens are under attack around the clock.”
Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Patrick Meehan said he hopes the bill encourages the Justice Department to pay more attention to arms trafficking.
“As a former federal prosecutor, I hope this does encourage more activity on the part of the Justice Department,” he said on Tuesday.
Democratic Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking member of the House oversight and government reform committee, and Carolyn McCarthy are also sponsors of the bill.