Get tough on gun traffickers

The list goes on and on.

Early Monday morning, Bronx resident Walikque Faussett was with two friends outside a Manhattan nightclub when a man shot and killed Faussett and injured her friends. She was 24.

A week ago, Brooklyn resident Eric McKinney was shot and killed while in his car, stopped at a red light. He was 31.

Last month, Carey Gabay, an aide to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, was fatally hit in the head by a stray bullet in the midst of a gang gunfight in Brooklyn. Gabay was 43.

The list goes on and on. While the nation notices mass shootings like the one this month near Roseburg, Oregon, it’s gun violence day after day that doesn’t get the same attention, but is so troubling and seems so difficult to stop.

But we mustn’t stop trying.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand introduced a bill making gun trafficking a federal crime. If it becomes law, the penalty for selling, purchasing or transferring two or more guns illegally will be up to 20 years in prison. The penalties will increase if gangs or organized crime rings were involved.

Named for two teenage girls — one in Chicago and one in New York — who were killed by stray bullets, a similar bill sponsored by Gillibrand was introduced in 2012. It got 58 votes, two shy of an important procedural vote that could have led to its passage. Now Gillibrand is taking up the cause again. The Hadiya Pendleton and Nyasia Pryear-Yard Gun Trafficking and Crime Prevention Act of 2015 would give U.S. law enforcement the ability to take a comprehensive approach to the illegal movement of guns now handled by state and local governments in isolated efforts.

The bill is co-sponsored by Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.). In Chicago, shootings and homicides are up 20% from a year ago. But this is a New York problem, too. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says 70% of the 8,539 firearms recovered and traced in New York in 2013 came from out of state.

Gillibrand’s effort is one of several by Senate Democrats who’ve proposed closing background check loopholes and more. Gillibrand’s bill has no logical argument against it — and though the battle to pass it may be an uphill one, it’s one everyone must keep fighting.

The Editorial Board