Like other states, Pennsylvania has strict criminal laws that impose penalties for certain offenses involving purchasing, carrying, and using firearms. One of these offenses involves straw purchasing firearms, which is buying a gun for someone else.

If you or someone you love is facing firearms charges, including straw purchasing a gun, you may be facing stiff criminal penalties if convicted. Fienman Defense can serve as a compassionate and effective advocate on your behalf. We can help protect your rights and will fight for a favorable resolution to your case.

Contact an experienced Philadelphia criminal defense attorney at (215) 839-9529 for a free, initial consultation.

Purchasing a Gun for Others

Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a federal law banning straw purchases, or one person buying a gun for another. Federal law requires licensed firearms dealers to verify buyers’ identities and provide their names to a federal database to screen for felons, those with mental illnesses, and others who are prohibited from owning guns. Under federal law, only actual buyers can purchase firearms, and purchases are contingent on certifying that the person is the actual buyer of the gun and that the buyer understands that providing false answers on the firearms purchase forms is a federal offense.

The Supreme Court affirmed that the purpose of the law is to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them and to help law enforcement investigate serious offenses. The Court observed that nearly half of the gun trafficking investigations performed by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, involve straw purchasing firearms.

Straw Purchasing in Pennsylvania

Recently, a woman in Deleware County, Pennsylvania was charged with straw purchasing a gun for her boyfriend, who was prohibited from owning firearms because of prior mental health issues. The woman purchased two handguns on her boyfriend’s behalf and admitted to providing false information on federal forms. According to the district attorney prosecuting the case, the woman is facing a minimum five-year jail term for each gun she straw purchased for her boyfriend.

Under Pennsylvania statute, a person who is not a licensed importer, manufacturer, or dealer and who wants to transfer a gun to another unlicensed person has to do so in the place of business of someone who is licensed or the county sheriff’s office. They have to follow the state’s legal procedures for such transfers, and failure to do so may result in a third-degree felony charge.

Pennsylvania joins other states that have initiated crackdowns on straw purchases. Colorado, California, Illinois, Delaware, Maryland, Nebraska, Ohio, Oregon, and Minnesota have all passed similar laws that ban straw purchases and set harsh penalties for the offense. Pennsylvania has taken an additional step of enhancing criminal penalties for straw purchases by enacting the “Brad Fox Law.” The legislation, which took effect in 2014, restored a mandatory minimum sentence of five years of jail time for people convicted a second time of straw purchasing firearms.

Fienman Defense Can Help You Today

If you are facing firearms charges in Philadelphia, you have the right to have an effective defense attorney by your side regardless of the circumstances. State and federal law enforcement and prosecutors aggressively go after firearms charges, and you need a defense attorney who will ensure that your rights are protected and that all possible avenues for defense are explored. Fienman Defense will investigate the state’s charges against you, analyze the facts, and empower you to make the best decisions regarding your case.

Call Philadelphia criminal defense attorney Michael Fienman at (215) 839-9529 to discuss your case and your options today.

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