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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: December 8, 2014 11:50 AM
From: Senator Lawrence M. Farnese, Jr. and Sen. Vincent J. Hughes
To: All Senate members
Subject: Increased penalties for straw purchasing/criminal attempt to purchase a firearm
In the near future, we will be reintroducing legislation to amend the Uniform Firearms Act to create the offense of criminal attempt to purchase a firearm and to increase penalties for making false statements on any application to purchase a firearm or to obtain a permit to carry a firearm (Senate Bill 866 of 2013). This legislation will not only increase penalties straw purchasers can be charged with, but also address increased penalties for any person prohibited from owning a firearm who attempts to get their hands on one.

Under the proposal, a person who attempts to purchase a firearm knowing that he or she is prohibited from possessing, using, controlling, selling, transferring or manufacturing a firearm under the Act would commit a felony of the second degree. A second or subsequent offense would be classified as a felony of the second degree with a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years.

Additionally, our legislation would increase penalties for making a false statement on an application to purchase a firearm or on an application for a carry permit. Under current law (18 Pa.C.S. §6111(g)(4)), the penalty for making a false statement on a form submitted in connection with the purchase, delivery or transfer of a firearms commits a felony of the third degree. Our proposal would make a second or subsequent offense a felony of the second degree punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years in prison.

A false statement made with respect to an application for a license to carry is not specifically referenced under 18 Pa.C.S. §6109 and presumably is classified as a 3rd degree misdemeanor under 18 Pa.C.S. §6119. Our legislation would make the penalty for this offense consistent with the penalty under 18 Pa.C.S. §6111(g)(4) by increasing the penalty to a third degree felony for a first offense and making a second or subsequent offense a felony of the second degree punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years in prison.

Finally, the legislation would amend 18 Pa.C.S. §4904 (relating to unsworn falsification to authorities) to increase penalties if the false statement was made with respect to a firearms application or a carry permit application. Again, the penalties would be increased to be consistent with the penalties under section 6109 and 6111 of the Uniform Firearms Act discussed above.

Please join us in cosponsoring this legislation. Contact Sally Keaveney at skeaveney@pasenate.com or 7-5662 or Mark Mekilo at mmekilo@pasenate.com or 7-7112 with any questions.

Introduced as SB328