Straw purchase is the act of buying a firearm on behalf of a third-party, who might not be eligible to buy a firearm themselves. It is considered a felony offense under Pennsylvania law as well as federal law.
How Does a Straw Purchase Work?
Under Pennsylvania law, individuals who want to buy a firearm can only do so at a licensed seller’s store or at the county sheriff’s office and need to undergo a background check. The law is in place to make sure that the person who buys the firearm is actually eligible to do so.
Individuals who are not eligible or are prohibited from owning a firearm often try to circumvent this law by getting someone else to buy a firearm for them. Generally, there are three reasons why a person might ask someone else to buy a firearm for them. These include:
- They might be prohibited from buying and owning a firearm due to a felony conviction or due to three or more DUI convictions within a five-year period.
- They might intend to commit a crime and might not want the firearm to be traced back to them.
- They might intend to sell the firearm on the black market.
Exceptions to Pennsylvania Law on Buying Firearms
Buying a firearm and giving it to another person is not considered a straw purchase under the following circumstances.
- If a person buys it for their spouse
- If a parent buys it for their child
- If a grandparent buys it for their grandchild
Penalties for Straw Purchase in Pennsylvania
If you make a straw purchase for someone who is eligible to own a firearm, you can be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and up to two years in prison. On the other hand, if you transfer or sell it to someone who is not eligible to own a firearm, you can be charged with a third-degree felony, which is punishable by a fine of up to $15,000 and up to seven years in prison.
If you use a false ID to purchase the firearm or provide incorrect or false information, you can be charged with a third-degree felony as well.
Enhanced Penalties under Brad Fox Law for Straw Purchase
If you make multiple straw purchases for another person or if you have a prior straw purchase-related conviction, you can be charged with a second-degree felony under the Brad Fox law and can face a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years.
The Brad Fox law was enacted back in 2012 in honor of Bradley Fox – a Plymouth Township police officer who was killed by a convicted felon using a gun obtained through a straw purchase. Apart from this, you can also be held civilly liable for any property damage, injuries, and deaths resulting from the straw purchase.
Facing Straw Purchase Charges in Pennsylvania? Contact the Law Offices of Basil D. Beck III Today!
Straw purchase charges in Pennsylvania are extremely serious in nature and a conviction can have far-reaching implications. You need effective legal representation to be able to defend against the charges you are facing.
Attorney Basil D. Beck has extensive experience in defending individuals charged with straw purchase and other weapons-related offenses and can devise the right strategies to defend you and protect your rights. Attorney Beck is prepared to go above and beyond what most other criminal defense lawyers do to obtain the best possible results for you.
Call our firm today at 610-239-8870 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation with highly-rated Pennsylvania straw purchase defense lawyer Basil D. Beck III.