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Lawmakers Unite to End Gun Trafficking

David De Lossy/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Tuesday unveiled legislation aimed at strengthening federal penalties against gun trafficking and so-called straw purchasers of guns.

The group maintains that it is strictly targeting illegal buyers, not lawful gun owners.

According to New York Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, "Americans have been very clear: they want something done about the scourge of gun violence and they want bipartisan cooperation in Washington."

Saying that the bill would achieve both aims, Maloney, whose husband was a victim of a deranged gunman, said, "This bill will combat gun trafficking.  It makes gun trafficking a felony and it increases the penalties for gun trafficking and for straw purchasers," those people who cannot attain firearms legally.

The legislation is being advanced by Maloney, Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings, Pennsylvania Republican Patrick Meehan and Virginia Republican Scott Rigell.

A member of the National Rifle Association, Rigell asserted that the NRA would get behind the bill, adding, "as a father and really as a grandfather I've got a problem with people who break the law using firearms because it inevitably puts pressure on my rights."

This measure represents the first bipartisan attempt at curbing gun violence since the White House made it a priority following the shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school last December that took the lives of 20 first-graders and six educators.

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