Gun control laws regulate who can buy and possess firearms such as guns. It is the government’s attempt to restrict or limit the production, ownership, and use of guns by Americans. Some people try to circumvent the gun control laws by making a straw purchase.

What Is a Straw Purchase?

A straw purchase happens when an actual gun buyer uses another individual to make the gun purchase transaction. The individual making the gun purchase for the actual buyer is called a straw purchaser.

What Does a Straw Purchaser Do?

The individual completes all the necessary paperwork to buy the gun. The gun is purchased from a firearms dealer licensed by the federal government. Once the purchase is made, the straw purchasers hands over the gun or guns to the actual buyer.

Why Would an Actual Buyer Need Someone to Purchase a Gun?

Typically, the actual gun buyer is prohibited by law from purchasing a gun in this situation. A person cannot buy a gun or possess if they are:

  • A convicted felon
  • Convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors
  • Under the age of 18 years old
  • Mentally ill

Other jurisdictions may include additional categories that prohibit individuals from buying guns.

Who Is a Convicted Felon?

A convicted felon is someone who has been convicted of a non-violent or violent crime that is classified as a felony and is punishable by more than one year in prison. According to the Brady law and other state laws, a felon cannot buy or possess a firearm.

Is Making a Straw Purchase Illegal?

Yes, especially since the intent is to provide firearms to people who are not supposed to have access to them. Federal and state law prohibit making a straw purchase.

What Is the Punishment for Making a Straw Purchase?

The punishment for making a straw purchase depends on the laws of the state where the purchase was made. States such as Ohio, Nebraska, Oregon, and Delaware have individual straw purchase laws. In states where there is no specific law prohibiting a straw purchase, the federal law will apply. According to federal law, an individual convicted of a straw purchase may be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison, and may even be required to pay a fine of $250,000.

Do I Need a Lawyer If I Am Connected to a Straw Purchase?

Yes. Anyone who intentionally lies to obtain a gun may face criminal charges. The buyer may also face criminal charges. Contact a criminal lawyer if you are facing charges related to a straw purchase to learn more about your rights in this situation and to discuss possible defenses that may be available to you.