Local Spotlight: The straw purchase of firearms in Philadelphia and nationwide
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) defines the straw purchase of firearms as “purchasing a gun for someone who is prohibited by law from possessing one, or for someone who does not want his or her name associated with the transaction.”
Reporters at the Philadelphia Inquirer investigated the frequency of straw purchasing in their city:
The Inquirer reviewed more than 135 court cases from the last three years in which people in the Philadelphia region were charged with gun trafficking or straw purchasing. That review, along with interviews and data analysis, showed that defendants were accused of trying to put nearly 900 guns into circulation.
City officials have tried to enact tougher policies aimed at curbing the practice but were stymied by the state legislature, which supports laxer gun laws.
Other cities and states have found ways to stop illegal trafficking. The issue has attracted federal attention, too. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act passed last summer, stiffened penalties for straw purchasing.
We zoom in on the issue in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, before getting the nationwide picture from the ATF director.
This is part of a series called “Local Spotlight,” where we cover local stories that deserve national attention. Have a suggestion about what we should feature? You know where to find us.
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