Bill Rep. Stephens Co-Sponsored to Increase Penalties for Straw Purchasers Moves to Governor’s Desk
HARRISBURG – Legislation to close a loophole that allows straw purchasers to escape mandatory sentences is now on its way to the governor’s desk, according to Rep. Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery), who co-sponsored the bill.

“Our laws prohibit convicted felons from possessing firearms, and straw purchasers – those who buy firearms for others who cannot legally possess them – must be punished severely,” said Stephens. “House Bill 898 ensures straw purchasers, who commit second and subsequent offenses, get the prison time they deserve.”

In response to a court ruling creating the loophole, House Bill 898 amends the Pennsylvania Crimes Code to ensure that anyone convicted with more than one illegal sale or transfer of a firearm is subject to penalties associated with second or subsequent offenses – regardless of whether the defendant has been sentenced for the prior violations.

Under section 6111 of the Crimes Code, a second or subsequent offense is a felony of the second degree, carrying a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and permanent revocation of any license to sell, import or manufacture a firearm.

Stephens, a former firearms prosecutor with the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office and the United States Attorney’s Office, is well aware of the consequences when firearms fall into the wrong hands. “Far too many citizens and law enforcement officers have fallen victim to violent crimes committed with illegal firearms right here in Montgomery County,” said Stephens.

Just last month, Plymouth Township Police Officer Bradley Fox was murdered with a gun purchased through a straw purchaser according to the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, which recently announced the arrest of the straw purchaser for illegally transferring nine guns to Officer Fox’s killer.

“It’s crucial that those who put guns into the hands of felons receive the sentences they deserve and this bill ensures they will,” he said.

State Representative Todd Stephens
151st District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: David Foster
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