Gun Control: Dick Durbin Wants to Lower East St. Louis Homicide Rate, 18 Times U.S. Average

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Dick Durbin.
The homicide rate per capita in East St. Louis, Illinois, is about eighteen times the national average -- which U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says is a problem that cries for a solution.

And tighter gun control, he says, is part of the answer.

The Illinois Democrat brought his fight for legislation restricting firearms trafficking to his hometown of East St. Louis this week, where he told reporters, video below, that there is a need for policies that keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

Would his policy proposal make a difference?

Durbin is pushing the Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act of 2013, which aims at combating "straw purchasing" of firearms -- when someone with a clean background buys a gun for someone who is prohibited from obtaining one.

Durbin's office and supporters of this measure argue that because there are no federal laws specifically banning this kind of sale, offenders only face minor penalties for making false statements on paperwork.

The bill would establish tougher punishments for anyone who transfers a gun or ammunition to someone else when the person has reasonable cause to believe that the firearm could be used in violent criminal activity.

It is also aimed at combating gun trafficking tied to foreign drug cartels -- by criminalizing the smuggling of firearms out of the U.S. with the intent of engaging in or promoting violent or drug-related crime.

"What can we do that's going to make this a safer city?" Durbin said, citing efforts to close clubs at earlier hours to reduce late night violence coming in from across the river. "Progress is being made. I'm really very heartened and encouraged by it."

He continued, "What can we do to keep guns out of the hands of criminals? Guns that are going to be used on the street to kill innocent people."

In a city like East St. Louis, there is obviously a long way to go, he added.

"The murder and violent crime rate in East St. Louis is eighteen times the national average. Eighteen times," he told the Post-Dispatch. "If we can make some progress step by step, I think we can bring that down."

Here's the paper's video.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.

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Brian Wittling
Brian Wittling

How about addressing the blight of ESTL that leads to violent crime in the first place, rather than putting a band-aid over a tool of crime. Oh yeah... that would be harder and might actualy produce results. nevermind.

Peggy Keller
Peggy Keller

There already is a black market for guns, this aims to see who is selling the black market guns.


I want some of what he's smokin!

Jesse Speaks Jr
Jesse Speaks Jr

No,it will increase the number of shot to death human beings.

Peggy Keller
Peggy Keller

It would be a good test case and this is the way to do it. Tracking straw purchases and seeing if they end up in criminals hands is exactly what needs to be done. All gun owners should behind this kind of gun control which is strictly aimed at illegal gun sales used in crimes. Why would you want to protect the guy that knowingly buys 50 guns and sells them to violent criminals?


Hmmmm I wonder what part of that 18x is due to IL's already highly regulated and deeply anti-gun climate.  No CCW 'shall issue', check.  FOID cards just to touch a gun, check.  Anti-gun politicians aplenty, check.  Worst homicide rate in the country (see Chicago and E. St. Louis) per capita, check.  I dare Sen. Durbin or any of his staff to find one single criminal in E. StL that had a FOID card and a CCW permit during the commission of their crimes.  I dare them to produce physical results of a falling crime rate with additional restrictions (on top of what IL already has) in IL or nationwide for that matter with new legislation.  Sen. Durbin is also a liar, there are federal penalties for straw purchasers (see 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(6) and 18 U.S.C. § 924(a)(1)(A) already that ATF has been atrocious at enforcing and the gun trafficking to drug cartels, well we need look no further than OUR OWN ATF PROGRAM FAST AND FURIOUS FOR ALLOWING THOUSANDS OF WEAPONS TO FLOW ACROSS THE BORDER INTO MEXICO!!!  Firearms are tools in the hands of individuals, and changing individuals and cultures of violence is the only solution to E. StL, Illinois, and the nation's problems.

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