Toepel Remains a Staunch Advocate of Her Straw Purchasing Legislation
10/12/2012
HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania is one step closer to enacting stricter laws against straw purchasers, as Rep. Marcy Toepel’s (R-Montgomery) legislation to close a significant loophole that makes it more difficult for law enforcement to remove illegal guns and prosecute straw purchasers is expected to come up for vote in the Senate early next week.

“Multiple straw purchases are the reason why a criminal possessed multiple guns, including the one that fatally shot Plymouth Township Police Officer Bradley Fox last month,” said Toepel. “I’ve been a staunch advocate of my legislation since I introduced it last year and I’m hoping my colleagues in the Senate will move this legislation as soon as possible.”

Although obtaining or receiving a firearm through a straw purchase is illegal in Pennsylvania, House Bill 898 would close a loophole in the current law that prevented the imposition of an enhanced penalty for second and subsequent offenses.

More specifically, this legislation would restore a five-year minimum sentence for those convicted of making repeat straw purchases of firearms, a measure that would make Pennsylvania’s streets safer for everyone.

This legislation passed 186-10 in the House with bipartisan support on April 26, 2011.

This legislation has garnered the support of the Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman, as well as the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association and the Montgomery County Police Chiefs’ Association.

“House Bill 898 restores a significant law enforcement tool to remove illegal guns and prosecute straw purchasers,” said Ferman.

Ferman said the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in a case of statutory interpretation, recently struck an important public safety statute that provided a five-year mandatory minimum sentence for repeat straw purchasers. This decision removed a critical tool that helped law enforcement prosecute and put away straw purchasers who are responsible for putting illegal guns in the hands of felons who wreak havoc in our communities.

“The decision has also stymied the ability of law enforcement to get straw purchasers to identify the violent criminals to whom they illegally sell or give guns,” Ferman said.

For more legislative information, visit Toepel’s website at www.RepToepel.com or her legislative Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/RepToepel.

State Representative Marcy Toepel
147th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Lauren Whetzel
lwhetzel@pahousegop.com
717.260.6451
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