An Eastern Pennsylvania man has been arrested on charges that he purchased guns for a convicted felon. The man with the felony record shot and killed a police officer on Sep. 13 before committing suicide. Authorities say the gun used in that shooting was one of nine firearms the accused man purchased on the convicted felon's behalf. They described the suspect made "straw purchases" of the guns by representing that they were for himself.
It is against the law for someone with a felony on their record to own or possess a firearm. Prosecutors said that the suspect in this weapons charges case agreed to purchase seven pistols and two rifles at local gun stores between April and July of this year and register them in his name. The deceased man, who previously was convicted of forgery, compensated the suspect for the price of the weapons and paid him an extra $500 per gun, authorities said at a press conference announcing the arrest on Oct. 10.
The deceased man's reasons for wanting the guns may never be known, but a detective said at the press conference that the man told the suspect that he did not want to go back to prison and "would shoot a cop" to escape arrest.
In Pennsylvania, a conviction for making a straw firearm purchase previously carried a minimum mandatory sentence of five years, but that law was struck down.
Given that the death of a police officer is involved, it is likely that this case will be highly emotional, especially since the shooter cannot be prosecuted.
Source: The Times Herald, "DA: Gun used to kill officer was a 'straw purchase'; suspect ID'd, arrested," Carl Hessler, Oct. 10, 2012