Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand announced Thursday on Andrea Mitchell Reports that Sen. Mark Kirk, an Illinois Republican, will co-sponsor her anti-gun-trafficking legislation, which they will introduce sometime next week.
Kirk, who recently returned to Congress after suffering a life-threatening stroke, is one of few Republican congressional leaders to receive an “F” rating from the NRA. Earlier in the month, Kirk also offered his support to an assault weapons ban.
Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, expressed confidence that Kirk’ s support will allow her to pass the measure, known as the Gun Trafficking Prevention Act, and reduce the flow of illegal guns into U.S. cities.
“I think it’s something that can really make a difference because we have to stop the flow of illegal guns going straight to the hands of criminals,” Gillibrand told host Andrea Mitchell. ”And that will be a great compliment to what Sen. Feinstein and Sen. Schumer and other senators are working on because its the complement of this types of changes to be able to keep these guns out of the hands of the gravely mentally ill and the criminal minds.”
A growing number of congressional leaders have lent their voices to the gun control debate following the shooting tragedy in Newtown that left 20 children and six adults dead. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., proposed a new assault weapons ban while Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., recently called for a stronger push for background checks.
Gillibrand explained that her measure will “give law enforcement the tools they need to actually go after these criminals and criminal networks to make sure they can’t just be selling the guns right out of the back of a truck.”
She also explained how both the background checks bill and the anti-trafficking one could complement each other and close various loopholes.
“Once everyone has to get a background check, you want to make sure it then just doesn’t start to have an underground market,” she said. “You don’t want to increase the amount of trafficking so if you do them both together you will really reduce the flow of illegal weapons to the criminals.”