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How bad guys get guns
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Straw sales of guns refer to cases in which people who can pass a background check buy weapons legally for persons who can't pass a background check and are unable to purchase guns legally. This is the major method criminals use to acquire weapons they would otherwise be unable to obtain.

Moreover, as Brad Bayersdorf, Denver spokesperson for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, stated, "There's little-to-no punishment for being a straw purchaser. … Gang members know it, drug trafficking organizations know it."

Recently, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill to increase the penalties for straw gun purchasers from a misdemeanor to a felony and to make it easier for prosecutors to obtain convictions. This legislation would be significant in the effort to reduce the number of weapons that criminals can obtain.

Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee, who are members of that committee, each voted against this bill. Why are they voting to help criminals get guns?

Frederic Michael Bull

Salt Lake City

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