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Re-introduces bill to make it a felony to “straw purchase” a gun.

Madison - Today, State Senator Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) announced that he has reintroduced a
bi-partisan bill to make it a felony to engage in the “straw purchase” of a firearm. A straw purchase occurs when a person knowingly purchases a firearm with the intent to transfer it to someone who could not pass a background check, and knowingly receiving or concealing a stolen firearm.

“Violent felons have repeatedly demonstrated their ability to illegally obtain firearms. Penalties for illegally trafficking firearms with felons are simply not strong enough to serve as a deterrent to trafficking or illegal possession. When the deterrent is too weak, we need to strengthen it,” said Carpenter.

Senator Carpenter’s bill (SB 69) was introduced with bi-partisan support. “Keeping guns out of the hands of convicted felons is not a political issue, it is a commonsense crime prevention issue,” said Carpenter.

“The bill seeks to address this problem with two practical measures. First, it will increase the penalty for knowingly receiving or concealing a stolen firearm from a misdemeanor to a class H felony. Second, it will increase the penalty for lying on the background check forms when purchasing a firearm from a misdemeanor to a class H felony,” said Carpenter.

“Increasing the penalty to a felony for these offenses not only makes the crime more serious in terms of the actual criminal charges; increasing the penalty to a felony will be important to prohibit the straw buyer from purchasing or possessing firearms in the future,” said Carpenter.

Senator Carpenter was the lead Senate author on a similar bipartisan bill in a past legislative session. The bill was passed unanimously in the Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and then passed without objection in the Assembly; the bill was not brought before the Senate.

“We can’t continue to wait on this issue that so strongly affects our community. We need to pass this bill this session. The safety of our neighborhoods and our law enforcement officers depends on it,” said Carpenter.