Alvarez: Law could discourage "straw buyers" of guns

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One way to fight back against “straw buyers” who flood Chicago with guns is a “lost or stolen” law, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez says.

At a press conference last week, Alvarez talked about the law when asked about a Sun-Times series by Frank Main that documented how straw buyers purchase guns legally in the suburbs and then sell them to people who use the weapons in crimes in Chicago. If the gun is traced back, the straw buyer says it was lost or stolen.

“We have the past three years proposed a law down in Springfield called ‘lost or stolen,’ ” Alvarez said. “I think it is a very common-sense law, and obviously it has gone nowhere down in Springfield.”

By requiring a gun owner to report a lost or stolen gun within 72 hours of noticing it is missing, the law would discourage straw purchases, Alvarez said.

“I got beat up [in Springfield] by the NRA and that [law] went nowhere,” she said.

Both Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Supt. Garry McCarthy support the idea, she said.

“I think we have to get stronger on straw buyers,” she said. “…[P]eople are going out and buying multiple guns that we find end up in the hands of gang bangers, used in shootings and murders.”

Of McCarthy, Alvarez said, “We have a great working relationship with the Police Department and I believe in what Supt. McCarthy is doing, and it takes a while to see results.”

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