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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: April 9, 2019 11:51 AM
From: Representative Joseph C. Hohenstein
To: All House members
Subject: Co-sponsorship-Increasing Penalties for Straw Purchases of Firearms
In September 2012, Plymouth Meeting police officer Brad Fox was shot and killed with an illegally-acquired gun. The gun was one of many purchased by a woman for her nephew, who was a convicted felon. Around the same time, a 16-year-old alleged drug dealer shot another resident with one of four guns purchased for the minor by a 33-year-old man in Northeast Philadelphia. This practice of purchasing a firearm for another person who is legally prohibited from owning one is known as “straw purchasing” and is, to this day, behind a portion of the gun violence that takes place across the state.

As this issue continues to plague our neighborhoods nearly seven years after Officer Fox's death and the shooting in Philadelphia, it has become clear that we must do more to address it. Though straw purchasing is illegal in Pennsylvania, the penalties inflicted are not harsh enough to discourage people from helping criminals and others who should not own guns. My legislation would address this shortfall by inflicting harsher penalties on those who participate in this practice.

Please join me in protecting our Commonwealth’s families and law enforcement officers from the lethal consequences of illegal gun purchases by supporting this important legislation.

Introduced as HB1456