Durbin, Dart ask police to help trace guns used in violent crime - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Durbin, Dart ask police to help trace guns used in violent crimes

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Sen. Dick Durbin unveiled new legislation on Monday, which would give law enforcement more incentive to report guns recovered from violent crimes to a national database.

Durbin said the gun tracing measure will help target gun trafficking networks and solve violent crimes. He calls the database run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives "one of the most powerful and basic crime-fighting tools available."

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart joined Durbin at the press conference where the senator announced the legislation.

The Illinois Democrat said less than half of the law enforcement agencies in Illinois and one-third of agencies nationwide currently report firearms to the database. Of the approximately 800 agencies in Illinois, only 392 have signed up for the trace program.

Durbin said the ATF program is free and easy to use, and doesn't understand why law enforcement agencies are not taking advantage of it in Illinois. He and Dart said more need to sign up – especially since the only additional work would come about when they process the weapon.

"We're telling them, if you want our help, you need to show a level of cooperation that involves e-tracing of guns. If you don't, it will be used against you when you make your application," Durbin said. "Pretty blunt instrument, but I don't know how else to do it. After seven years of sending letters we need to do something else."

The Crime Gun Tracing Act would provide a preference in federal community policing grants for agencies that have worked with ATF to trace guns in the previous year.

Dart and Durbin said the reason why reporting is so important, is that it allows law enforcement to take a look at trends, and see where exactly a lot of these guns involved in violent crimes are coming to the state of Illinois.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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