Hadiya Pendleton Gun Control Bill Gets Nod from Senate Judiciary Committee

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Reporters are shown a funeral program for Hadiya Pendleton’s services/Photo by Safiya Merchant

This story is from the Chicago Bureau

IN BRIEF: The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has sent to the full body a gun control bill aimed at so-called straw buyers and that, in part, is named for slain Chicago teen Hadiya Pendleton.

Hadiya, who was part of a presidential inaugural show this year, was slain on Chicago’s South Side shortly after returning home, and just a short distance from President Barack Obama’s home here. Her death helped marshal the anti-gun push that gained much traction after the December Connecticut school massacre.

The committee, headed by chief sponsor Patrick Leahy of Vermont, voted 11-7 to OK the bill. It was co-sponsored by senior Illinois Senator Dick Durbin and junior Senator Mark Kirk and got the nod from a single Republican on the panel, Iowa’s Chuck Grassley.

The much-debated legislation also honors New York teen Nyasia Pryear-Yard, and is targeted chiefly at straw buyers. A huge issue in Chicago, where violence has attracted so much attention over the past year, straw buying involves people who engage in buying guns with a legal permit or license then recycling that purchase to a non-licensed person.

Doing so would be a felony under the new bill, called the Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act of 2013.

Telling of the problem, there were reports Friday on a University of Chicago Crime Lab study showing that nearly 60 percent of the 17,000-plus guns tracked by police in Chicago – which is strict on guns but high on violence rates – were purchased outside of Illinois and trafficked here. (Among other things, the Crime Lab tracks gun violence that hits so many schoolchildren in Chicago.)

Still in the works is broader legislation aimed at assault weapons bans and heightened background checks for gun buyers.

Click here to see the Bureau’s coverage of Obama’s visit last month to Hyde Park Academy to in part address gun violence in his hometown and the country as part of a post-State of the Union legislative push.

Click here for the news release on the vote from Leahy’s office.

Below, Durbin addresses gun violence, particularly the high rates of shootings and homicides here.

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