U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) has announced new federal legislation targeting the straw purchasing of firearms, nearly a year after a Chicago police officer was fatally shot with such a weapon during a traffic stop in Englewood.
Durbin on Tuesday introduced the Officer Ella Grace French Task Force Support Act of 2022, which he said will allow the Department of Justice to fund multi-jurisdictional task forces to investigate straw purchasing and trafficking activity.
“By helping support coordinated efforts to investigate and disrupt illicit straw purchasing and gun trafficking networks, the Officer Ella Grace French Task Force Support Act will help keep firearms out of the hands of prohibited users and help keep our communities and law enforcement officers safe,” Durbin said in a statement.
French, 29, was killed in the line of duty during a routine traffic stop last August. Her partner, who was also shot and seriously wounded, survived his injuries. Two brothers, Emonte and Eric Morgan, have been charged with French’s murder.
An Indiana man, Jamel Danzy, was also arrested and charged in federal court. He’s been accused of acting as the straw purchaser who bought the firearm used in the shooting on behalf of one of the Morgan brothers, who had a felony record and could not lawfully purchase a firearm himself.
The new legislation would target those types of illegal purchases by funding task forces that coordinate efforts between federal, state, tribal, territorial, and local agencies to investigate and disrupt these types of activities.
“Officer Ella French dedicated her life to making Chicago’s communities safer and died while protecting the people of our city,” Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said in a statement. “This act is a testament to Officer French and her legacy that continues to inspire all of us.”