Federal lawmakers are calling for tougher penalties for trafficking an illegal gun across state lines amid a rise in violent crimes and following the shooting deaths of two New York City Police Department officers this month. 

The measures proposed by U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Carolyn Maloney would make the illegal transfer of guns across state lines a federal crime. The lawmakers also want to set new penalties for those who are directly involved in the movement of illegal firearms from state to state as well as those who are involved in organized gun trafficking rings. 

At the same time, the lawmakers want stiffer penalties for those who facilitate trafficking through the sale or delivery of firearms. 

The effort has the backing of Jennifer Pryear, whose daughter Nyasia was shot by an illegal gun in Brooklyn. 

“For years, law enforcement has been asking Congress to make gun trafficking a federal offense and to impose harsher penalties on straw purchasers who buy guns for those who are not allowed to buy guns on their own,” Maloney said. “Similarly, communities that have been shattered by the gun violence epidemic have called on Congress to put an end to gun trafficking that fuels deadly operations like the Iron Pipeline that pump weapons of death into our cities."

The effort to crackdown on the so-called iron pipeline of illegal guns into New York state dovetails with efforts on the state level, where Gov. Kathy Hochul has sought a multi-government and multi-state effort in the northeast to coordinate ways of halting the flow of the firearms. 

“I want to thank Jennifer Pryear for standing here with us today and for her relentless courage in this fight. When Jennifer and I met in 2009 she told me about Nyasia, her young, brilliant daughter who tragically lost her life to gun violence,” Gillibrand said. “Nyasia should be here with us today, and Congress has a duty to prevent more senseless tragedies. It’s time to make gun trafficking a federal crime to stop the flow of illegal guns in our state and to save innocent lives.”