Helping another is generally a good thing. But helping another do what it would be illegal for them to do on their own is usually not a good thing. And when that assistance is to obtain a firearm for that other person who cannot obtain and possess a firearm legally on their own, the assistance can become a very serious crime. For example, making a straw purchase of a firearm for a felon, minor, domestic abuser, or other person who cannot buy the firearm on their own implicates several serious crimes. Be a good citizen and neighbor. Help others generously. But watch carefully whom you help and how you help them when the help comes to sharing access to guns, drugs, tobacco, and other restricted items.
An Example Straw Purchase Case
Straw purchases, purported to be for the buyer but actually for another person, can be innocent. Friends and family members routinely send one another on errands to buy things for another, for convenience or favor's sake. No one has any concern when you secretly buy groceries for another as a charitable act. But straw purchases involving guns are typically highly suspect. For example, a recent media report describes charges brought against a corrections officer who allegedly bought seven guns over a relatively short period. The guns then somehow promptly ended up missing or in the hands of others, including two who had no legal right to possess a firearm. The officer may have had good intentions or may have a credible defense, but the report points to evidence that the officer sold the guns through social media. Guns supplied to felons or domestic abusers aren't an innocent-sounding mix.
Straw Purchasing Laws
Straw purchases like the ones that the above report alleges can violate several criminal laws, leading to a criminal conviction. Those laws include the unlawful sale or transfer of a firearm, dealing in the proceeds of unlawful activities, and materially false statements to authorities. Montgomery County prosecutors charged the above officer with all those crimes and several others. Pennsylvania firearms laws prohibit sales to felons and require disclosures relating to the sale. The officer's alleged social media sale to felons, otherwise undocumented and secretive, would have violated those laws. When the officer allegedly gave an interview to public authorities at the jail where she then worked, concealing the sales, the officer would have violated the false-statements law. In short, straw purchases of regulated items and substances can easily run afoul of several criminal laws.
Retain Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney Representation
The above report indicates that the court held the defendant officer accused of straw purchases in jail on a $500,000 bond. Straw purchases can be very serious charges. If you face, or someone you know faces, criminal charges involving a straw purchase, then retain skilled and experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney representation. Premier Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm are available to defend against criminal charges involving straw purchases. Call 888-535-3686 or go online for skilled and experienced criminal defense representation.