Feds cracking down on firearm ‘straw purchases’: ‘Don’t lie for the other guy’

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AUBURN HILLS (WJRT) (6/12/2019) - "How prevalent is this? We are presenting cases to the Unites States Attorney's Office routinely," explained Special Agent James Dier, with the ATF.

He said more and more people are signing the 4473 form saying they're buying the gun for their own use, when it's actually for someone who's prohibited from purchasing it themselves. What's considered a 'straw purchase.'

"To be honest with you, individuals are preyed upon," Dier explained. "We have folks out there in the community that are down on their luck, that are single moms, that are unemployed and they get approached by somebody that says 'hey I'll give you $250 bucks to do this.'"

But Dier said, it's not worth it; because that gun could be used in any number of violent crimes.

"To murder other people, to shoot other people, to intimidate other people, to sell narcotics to other people," he said.

"If that weapon is used in violence, that blood is on your hands. Don't let that be," Genesee County Undersheriff Chris Swanson said.

The Genesee County Sheriff's Department is one of several police agencies working to put an end to the illegal purchases.

The U.S. Attorney's Office has hired more employees to work these cases, with the ATF's team devoted to weeding them out.

"You will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the federal law and you will go to federal prison," Dier said.

The sentence is up to 10 years behind bars and/or paying a fine of up to a quarter of a million dollars.

To remind the community of the severe consequences, the ATF worked with firearms retailers to launch the 'Don't Lie for the Other Guy' campaign Wednesday at the Bass Pro Shop in Auburn Hills.

"They're intentionally deceiving the retailer," Lawrence Keane with the National Shooting Sports Foundation explained. "So, you try to give them tools to be better able to say, 'Hey wait a second, this doesn't seem right, I think this might be a problem' and not do the transaction."

Keane added the ability to deny a sale is always on the table.



 
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