Every year, thousands of weapons sold in gun shops end up in illegal communities.
“You don’t really think where these guns are coming from. You don’t think so,” said Rashandra Burnett.
Burnett is a tough reality to live with for 20 years.
In 2002, he was a college student in Ohio. A classmate asked him to go to a nearby gun store and do some shopping.
“Of course, my usual questions were, ‘Why do you need it?’ His response was more, because he already had one, because he couldn’t get it, “Burnett said.
Burnett’s classmate said no, and later learned from agents from the Office of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) that he and a gun shop owner were sending illegal weapons to a New Jersey street group to become straw buyers. he needed.
A straw buyer is a person who buys weapons on behalf of someone who cannot, for reasons such as having a crime on their record.
“Right now, I’m legal, I’m a citizen, don’t think, they’re probably bad people trying to do bad things,” Burnett said.
Court records show that on two trips to the gun store, Burnett signed 40 firearms papers with money immediately paid by his classmates.
He later told federal agents that he did not know he had bought so many because he handled them when his classmates picked them up.
He said he felt uneasy about signing the form, saying he was buying weapons for himself.
“Check it out, sign my life and give it a note. And I sat in the car,” Burnett said.
Burnett could have been a pawn, but to enforce the law, he is not a victim.
He pleaded guilty to two counts of felony criminal mischief for lying in a gun purchase form.
“Often, people don’t think what they’re doing is wrong, but they’re actually committing a crime,” says David Booth, a special agent for the Denver Field Division at ATF.
“It will probably be two or three times,” Booth added.
In federal terms, buying a gun from someone who is unable to do so carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.
“I would think if people were to get five to eight years off on parole, I think that would really help,” Boot said.
Entrepreneur Chet Whye believes that gun laws can punish the wrong people.
“They can’t buy it because they are criminals or have a history and then that forces them to look for people who aren’t in that situation and have no history, then you lock up people who are vulnerable,” Why said.
The ATF says they do not maintain official sex statistics for straw buyers, but the agency notes that in many cases, women are hired.
“In exchange for these women, they will do this favor for love or for a little money, without knowing what kind of repercussions they have on themselves and their community,” Why said.
Whye, who works with Operation Lipstick, a team that has worked with law firms in cities like Boston and Philadelphia to educate women about buying straws so they don’t get used to criminal efforts to bring more illegal weapons to the streets.
“Women, unintentionally or unintentionally, as neighbors of the arms race, can be disruptive. And we should focus on empowering women to stop this, ”Why said.
There are other efforts to educate the public about the dangers of buying straw, for example National Shooting Sports Foundation’s “Don’t Lie to Another Boy” campaign.
Burnett was released on parole after pleading guilty to the charges. He is working on his master’s degree, but he has to live with a crime in his file.
“Looking back, you think about all these things, I don’t know how many lives I’ve taken, basically,” Burnett said.
His story hopes to stop others from taking a place in America’s illegal arms pipeline.
Woman shares story to help prevent illegal gun purchases Source link Woman shares story to help prevent illegal gun purchases