Thursday, May 21, 2009

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Texas Attorney General Abbott, Senator Carona, Representative Corte Mark Legislature’s Passage of Firearms Smuggling Law

AUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, state Sen. John Carona and Rep. Frank Corte today marked the passage of a new state law that prohibits firearms smuggling. Prior to the passage of Senate Bill 2225, illegal firearms trafficking was not a state crime.

Senate Bill 2225 creates a third-degree felony offense if the smuggler intentionally or knowingly transports or transfers firearms in violation of the law. The new law creates an enhanced, second-degree felony offense if three or more firearms are involved. Additionally, SB 2225 defines unlawful weapons as contraband. As a result, these arms will be subject to asset forfeiture proceedings. The legislation unanimously passed the Texas House and Senate.

“With the passage of Senate Bill 2225, illegal firearms smuggling is a state crime, enforceable by state authorities,” Attorney General Abbott said. “Senator Carona and Representative Corte have provided law enforcement officials a new legal tool for the war on border violence. Thanks to this legislation, state and local law enforcement now have increased authority to crack down on illegal weapons smugglers.”

Sen. Carona added: “We the Legislature have a responsibility to protect the citizens of Texas from the growing violence along the Texas-Mexico border. Senate Bill 2225 will provide Texas law enforcement with an important tool to fight the trafficking of illegally obtained firearms. Particularly, this bill will help stem the flow of weapons out of our state and into the hands of the dangerous Mexican drug cartels.”

Rep. Corte added: “Passage of SB 2225 will assist state prosecutors and provide law enforcement with tools to use against those who are trafficking firearms and posing a serious security threat to our state.”

According to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ E-trace database, Texas was the top U.S. source state in 2007 for unlawful gun trafficking into Mexico. Houston was ranked as the top U.S. source city for guns recovered across the border.

To find out more about the OAG’s Criminal Investigations Division, visit the agency’s Web site at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov or call (800) 252-8011.