In fall 2012, the brutal murder of Plymouth Township Police Officer Bradley Fox spurred the Pennsylvania legislature to pass — and Governor Corbett to sign — a law establishing mandatory minimum sentences for straw purchasers — people who use their clean records to purchase guns for prohibited purchasers. The man who killed Officer Fox was unable to buy a gun because of his criminal record, but he paid another man over a period of time to buy him 9 guns, one of which was used to murder Officer Fox.
THE FACTS: Punishing straw purchasers has historically been difficult, because they rely on the fact of their lack of a criminal history to arguer for lighter sentences.
THE GOOD NEWS: Now, the Bradley Fox bill imposes a mandatory minimum of five years for every gun purchased when a straw purchaser has made multiple purchases.
MORE TO DO: Now that the law is in effect, we need to ensure that prosecutors charge straw purchasers and that judges sentence in accordance with the law. And, when the Bradley Fox law does not apply because only one purchase was made, we still need to make clear the serious nature of the crime of straw purchasing. Our Courtwatch program helps us do that.