Due to a marked increase in violent crimes in recent months, especially those involving firearms, authorities at every level are coordinating renewed efforts to minimize the violence and curb gun crimes in Illinois and throughout the country. In a recent post, we discussed the recent efforts by federal authorities to crack down on illegal firearms trafficking and violent crimes in general.
One area worthy of specific attention involves straw purchasers and their part in illegal gun trafficking. In a recent press release, John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, called out straw purchasers specifically when discussing multiple coordinated efforts focused on reducing gun crimes and violent crimes. “Straw purchasers and firearms traffickers enable violence,” he said.
What is a straw purchaser?
The concept of a straw purchaser is simple. Many people, for one reason or another (such as a prior felony or domestic battery conviction), are prohibited from buying firearms. A straw purchaser is usually someone without a criminal record who lawfully buys firearms, but sells them to prohibited persons or traffickers at a premium.
What are the authorities doing to stop straw purchasers?
In truth, there is little the federal, state or local authorities can do to truly stop a straw purchaser. By definition, a straw purchaser usually does not have a criminal background or any reason to arouse suspicion.
However, according to Lausch, “[t]he cross-jurisdictional strike force has increased collaboration with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, and enhanced our longstanding efforts to hold accountable individuals or groups who illegally traffic firearms into Chicago.”
For straw purchasers, this can mean closer attention to unusual firearms purchasing patterns and much more aggressive prosecution of those caught making purchases to engage in illegal sale of firearms for the purposes of trafficking.
With all the publicity around renewed efforts by all levels of government to crack down on gun crimes and violent crimes, it is important to remember that strong criminal defense does not change. The standards required for a conviction have not changed.
If you have been charged in a crime involving the so-called straw purchase or sale of firearms, you need a strong and experienced criminal defense lawyer in your corner like attorney Darryl A. Goldberg. If you are charged or believe you are under investigation, contact Attorney Goldberg for a consultation.