What is a Straw Purchase?

So how do bad guys, who are prohibited from getting guns, end up  getting guns?

Some of the most common ways are:

  1. By stealing them
  2. Purchasing them on the black market
  3. Straw purchases

A straw purchase is when someone who would pass PICS (Pennsylvania instant check system) goes and buys a firearm and turns around and gives it to someone who’s a former felon not to possess or someone who shouldn’t have a gun for some reason like a 302 commitment. It is called a “straw” because they are doing it for someone else.

They’re somewhat easy to recognize and sometimes hard because they might come in with a specific make and model of a handgun that they want and they’re stuck on it and they’re not getting off it and it’s something that’s way too powerful. For example, when you have an 85 pound female looking for gold Desert Eagle .50 caliber. It just doesn’t match. Sometimes they come in with someone who “helps” them to purchase their first handgun.

It is absolutely against federal law and against state law to be in a  straw purchase situation. You cannot knowingly buy a gun for another person who is a person not to possess and that includes private sales of long guns too. You’re not required to sit there and do a background check or have the person do a background check in Pennsylvania for long gun purchases but you’d be smart to know who you’re dealing with. That way you don’t get yourself in trouble. 

So when it comes to straw purchases, don’t do it. There’s that poster up in most gun stores that warns against it. You’re going to invite all sorts of trouble if you do.