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Pennsylvania Senate Approves Tougher Penalties For Straw Purchases

By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – Governor Corbett is expected to sign a bill on the way to his desk that will create tougher penalties for people who illegally buy guns for criminals.

Under current law, a defendant convicted of multiple “straw purchases” of guns in a single proceeding cannot be sentenced as a repeat offender.

The bill given final legislative approval by the state Senate Wednesday would see a defendant convicted of multiple straw purchases at a single trial sentenced as a first time offender for the first offense but then as a repeat offender for additional counts.

“I hope everyone in this building realizes how much of a historic day this really is,” Philadelphia Senate Democrat Lawrence Farnese said.

But fellow Philadelphia Democrat Anthony Williams says it’s only a first step.

“My hope is this will not just start a conversation, but will correct a policy.”

The bill expected to become law would mean a mandatory five-year sentence for defendants convicted of multiple straw purchases.

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