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WASHINGTON, DC (AP) - U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin wants Illinois police departments to use a federal firearms tracing system that can tell investigators the chain of custody of a gun from the manufacturer to the first legal purchaser.
Durbin says fewer than half of Illinois' more than 800 police departments use the eTrace program of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He said Monday he will be introducing legislation creating an incentive for police to use eTrace.
The legislation would require police departments seeking federal COPS grants to tell the federal government how many crime guns they've recovered. They would have to report how many were submitted to ATF for tracing and why any recovered guns were not submitted.
COPS grants are designed to encourage the development of community policing programs.
Illinois Senator Dick Durbin wants consumers to pay sales tax on their purchases, whether they shop in a local store, or online.
Consumers are already supposed to pay sales tax for online purchases. But very few do since there's no uniform collection method, and the onus to pay is placed on the consumer, not the retailer. In Illinois, for instance, those who file state tax returns are asked to list their online purchases and pay sales tax for them.
Durbin says the current rules are not fair to brick and mortar stores, who must collect sales tax from their customers. Durbin has sponsored a bill that would require Internet stores to do the same.
The Senate will soon begin debate on the Market Fairness Act. It could be voted on as early as this week.
Missouri Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt have both said they favor the move.
The Democratic senator from Illinois sent a letter Monday to the CEOs of Red Bull, Rockstar and Monster asking for an explanation for the companies' sponsorship of sporting events that target children.
Durbin says the companies have often claimed they do not market their drinks to youngsters. But he says he is aware of multiple situations that contradict their claims.
Durbin cites several examples in his letter, including a high school football tournament and a motorcycle race for children as young as thirteen endorsed by Red Bull.
Durbin says his letter stems out of growing concerns during the past year about the potential health risks posed by energy drinks.