Pennsylvania’s Superior Court Upheld Sentence For Straw Purchase Of Guns

Pennsylvania’s Superior Court Upheld Sentence For Straw Purchase Of Guns

The Superior Court in Pennsylvania confirmed a nearly six- to 12-year sentence for a Chester woman convicted of illegally purchasing weapons for her felon boyfriend.

This is the first use of a Pennsylvania law that calls for a mandatory minimum sentence of five years for a defendant convicted of illegally buying guns for someone else.

24-year-old Staci Dawson was convicted in August 2014 of buying two handguns for her boyfriend, David Colon. The appellate court rejected Dawson’s affirmation that the sentence was illegally too severe.

Shira Goodman, executive director of CeaseFire PA said: “It’s a very important decision by Superior Court. Part of the problem with straw purchasers is they have clean records. They could appeal to the mercy of the court. They’ve never been in trouble before, so they should have a light sentence. It didn’t give prosecutors a lot of leverage to find out who they might be trafficking guns to, selling guns to or buying guns for.”

“If the prosecutors say to you, ‘Look, you’re facing a mandatory minimum. You’ve got to tell us who you’re buying these guns for.’ Maybe now there’s some incentive to trade some information. Maybe now women won’t be able to say, ‘I’m just going to get a slap on the wrist.’ Because now they won’t.”

Goodman said that Dawson never filed a protection from abuse order with the court.

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