In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, individuals are arrested and charged with “straw purchases” of firearms. When an individual is purchasing a firearm for another individual’s use, the purchaser could face severe penalties including jail time. It is essential that individuals who have been charged with this crime are aware of their rights and how having an experienced attorney can help mitigate the criminal chares they are facing.
What is a Straw Purchase?
In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, any individual who is not a licensed gun dealer, and purchases a firearm(s) for another individual who also is unlicensed, will be deemed to have made a straw purchase. Essentially, a straw purchase is the illegal act of buying a firearm for another person who would otherwise be unable to purchase it themselves. Some common reasons why people request others to buy their firearms include:
- The person is not able to purchase a firearm on their own due to their background
- The person is engaging in the commission of a crime and does not want the gun traced back them
- The person is an unlicensed seller of firearms
Any individual who purchases a firearm without a license to sell firearms, must do so at place of business that is a licensed seller or at the county sheriff’s office. The purpose behind purchasing a firearm at these locations is to ensure that the sale of the firearm(s) is done in a safe manner and also allows the opportunity for the sheriff or dealer to run a background check on the purchaser in order to ensure that they are eligible to buy a firearm. Under a straw purchase, these entities are unable to run a background check on the buyer and as a result, individuals who would otherwise be unable to obtain a firearm, illegally come into possession of one.
Sentencing Guidelines For Straw Purchases
Under PA law Section 6111 (g)– If the individual knowingly or intentionally sold, delivered and/or transferred a firearm to any person who was unqualified to possess or use a firearm, the individual will be charged with a felony of the third degree and subject to potential jailtime. IF the individual who purchased the firearms is convicted of selling more than 1 firearm, than he/she must serve a minimum of 5-10 years in prison. It is important that any individual who is asked to purchase a firearm for someone else refuse to do so no matter what the circumstances are.
Have Your or Someone You Know Been Charged with this Crime?
Despite the severity of the crime, there are potential defenses that may be applicable to the particular facts of the case. Having an experienced attorney is necessary to ensure that all facts of the case are carefully examined and all applicable defenses are put forth. If you or someone you know has been charged with this crime, The Law Office of Vincent J. Caputo is ready to help through this process. We understand that this charge can often be difficult for the individual involved and that is why we will work with you every step of the way in achieving the best outcome possible. Contact our office for a free consultation today, your future is our priority!