It is illegal to buy a firearm for someone else, lying on federal forms and helping them avoid background checks. Both the straw purchaser and the actual buyer could face federal charges for this type of crime. The consequences of this type of felony are significant.
Understanding Straw Purchases of Firearms as a Federal Offense
When someone who cannot legally buy or own a gun wants to buy a firearm, one of the most common ways they obtain a firearm is by getting someone else to purchase it for them. This allows them to avoid background checks and keeps their names off sale records. Some reasons people may not be able to purchase guns legally include:
- They have a conviction that was punishable by more than a year in jail or prison
- They are a fugitive
- They are a drug user or addict
- They are under age 18
- They have a history of serious mental health issues
- They are a non-documented resident
- They were dishonorably discharged from the military
- They have a history of domestic violence and/or have a domestic violence injunction against them
In a straw purchase, the straw purchaser goes to a licensed firearms dealer with the intention of buying a gun for another person. Even if the other person can legally own a gun but does not want their name in the sales records, a straw purchase is still illegal.
As a part of purchasing a firearm, you must complete an ATF Form 4473 which requires you to confirm you are the buyer of the gun and not buying it on behalf of someone else. Lying on this federal form is considered making a false statement and may be a felony offense. When the purchaser receives the firearm, they are also committing a federal crime. They could face charges for aiding and abetting.
You Could Face Significant Consequences If Convicted of a Federal Crime
Under federal law, straw purchase of a firearm is a felony offense. If convicted of this type of federal crime, a judge from the Middle District of Florida could sentence you to:
- Up to ten years in federal prison; or
- A fine of as much as $250,000; or
- Both prison time and a fine
Let Us Build a Strong Defense in Your Federal Straw Purchase Case
The two principal attorneys from Goldman Wetzel work on every case together. By partnering on each case, they can build a stronger case for your defense. Summer Goldman brings the vantage point of someone who knows how the prosecutor approaches each case while Maribeth Wetzel is a career defense attorney who fights for every client.
From our first meeting, we will go to work protecting your rights and fighting for a more favorable outcome in your case. We will sit down with you and discuss the circumstances of your arrest and listen to your side of the story. We will launch our own investigation to collect evidence to support our defense.
Depending on the facts of your case and the defense strategy we develop, we may be able to:
- Prevent the U.S. attorney from filing charges
- Clear your name by getting the charges dropped
- Argue for an acquittal in court
- Reduce the nature and severity of the charges against you
- Negotiate a plea deal for a lesser charge and lighter consequences
- Convincing the judge to probate your sentence
The Goldman Wetzel team is here for you. We can go to work on your case today. We encourage you to give us a call if:
- The police or another law enforcement agency arrested you
- The police want to question you or call you a person of interest
- There is a warrant for your arrest
- You face federal straw purchase charges
If you or a family member give us a call, we can protect your rights immediately. A member of our team is standing by to review your case.
Talk to the Criminal Defense Attorneys from Goldman Wetzel About Your Case
If the police or another law enforcement agency arrested you or you face federal charges for straw purchases of a firearm, you need a criminal defense team on your side. You do not want to try to fight this on your own, and there is no reason you have to.
At Goldman Wetzel, both of our lawyers work on every case we handle. This allows us to provide both compassionate support and aggressive legal representation in your straw purchases case. We will fight for a more favorable outcome in your case. Call us today at 727-828-3900 to get started.