ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Congress is considering ways to toughen the penalties for people who help convicted felons get guns by lying on their paperwork.
Trista Frederick is a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. She says in St. Louis, many of the guns which end up in the hands of felons committing crimes on the street were purchased illegally by “straw parties” who claimed the gun they were purchasing was for themselves.
“Straw purchasing is a significant problem in the St. Louis area and is a major contributing factor to the cycle of violence that occurs in St. Louis,” Frederick said. “Unfortunately, we can’t say with any accuracy the number of firearms that are straw purchased because the violations often go undetected by law enforcement and the industry. It’s often not until a firearm is used in a crime that the straw purchase is discovered.
Both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives are considering plans to raise the penalty for straw purchasing a gun from the current ten years in prison to thirty.
“Straw purchasing is a crime, not just a harmless little thing where they’re lying on a form,” Frederick said. “The fact that they’re purchasing a gun for somebody who can’t do it themselves or don’t want that firearm associated with them, they’re actually contributing to that firearms violence.”