A bipartisan group of senators has reached a deal on a bill that would make it a federal crime to buy a gun for someone who isn't legally allowed to own one.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy announced the agreement on the Senate floor Monday evening.
Illegal gun "straw" purchases, made by a buyer on behalf of someone who cannot pass a background check, are often not prosecuted under current law, usually because conducting such a sale yields such a weak penalty.
The new compromise legislation would make the consequences for both straw buyers and sellers far more serious - to the tune of decades in jail.
"Instead of a slap on the wrist or treating this like a paperwork violation, these crimes under our bill would be punishable by up to 25 years in prison," Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said.
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