Getting a gun for someone who’s banned from having one could land you in federal prison


WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) There are a number of reasons people aren’t permitted to have a gun.

They can’t have a gun if they’ve been convicted of domestic violence if they are addicted to drugs, if they’ve been found to be mentally incompetent or if they have a prior felony conviction.

But often they end up with guns anyway.

Often they convince a girlfriend or a drug customer to buy it for them.

A new initiative called Project Safe Neighborhoods is spreading the word that getting a gun for someone who can’t get it themselves—called a straw purchase—is a serious crime.

“A person convicted of straw purchasing is facing up to ten years in jail and a $250,000 fine,” said Acting US Attorney Randolph Bernard. “A split second decision can ruin your life.”

“We’ve removed firearms from prohibited persons,” said Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger. “We always do investigations into how that gun came into their possession. And often it’s a friend or girlfriend who did a straw purchase.”

A dramatic public service annoucement, airing on WTRF, shows a young woman persuaded to purchase a firearm for a boyfriend later being arrested after that gun was used in a crime.

The project by the US Attorney’s Office Is in partnership with the Wheeling Police Department and the Wheeling YWCA. 

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