New Law Increases Penalties

For Violent Gun Crimes, Trafficking
Rep. Scott Petri (R-Bucks) is lauding passage of legislation that will increase mandatory sentences for those who commit violent gun crimes and crack down on illegal gun trafficking.

Petri voted for House Bill 1845, which was signed into law by the governor today in Philadelphia. The legislation specifically targets individuals who kill or wound police officers.

“Violent gun crimes are threatening our citizens, our communities and the law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line for us every day,” said Petri. “This legislation lengthens sentences for offenders who turn their guns on police officers, and it goes after the straw purchasers responsible for the high rate of illegal guns on our streets.”

A straw purchaser is someone who buys a gun on behalf of or for resale to a third party, usually someone who is not licensed or not otherwise eligible to hold a gun license. Often these guns are reported stolen by the straw purchaser after the illegal transfer is made. The new law increases the statute of limitations on straw purchases from two years to five, giving law enforcement more time to investigate these cases, and it increases penalties for false reports of stolen guns.

Petri introduced legislation to impose a five year mandatory minimum sentence on persons convicted of illegal gun trafficking. HB 784 would make straw purchasing a second-degree felony, carrying a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. He plans to reintroduce his bill in the new legislative session beginning in January.

Under the bill signed into law today, anyone convicted of murdering a police officer with a gun will receive the death penalty or life in prison. First-degree manslaughter convictions will net up to 20 years behind bars and a second-degree manslaughter conviction will get up to 10 years. Solicitation, conspiracy or attempt to commit murder against a police officer or serious bodily injury will result in a prison sentence of up to 40 years. Assault or an attempted assault on a police officer that involves the discharge of a firearm carries a mandatory minimum of 20 to 40 years in prison.

“I supported this legislation because it targets violent crimes perpetrated against Pennsylvania citizens and the law enforcement community, while not interfering with the Second Amendment rights of sportsmen and legal gun owners,” said Petri. “The new law will keep violent criminals who commit gun crimes in prison and off our streets.”

Rep. Scott Petri
178th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

(215) 364-3414
(717) 787-9033
Contact: Donna M. Pinkham

(717) 260-6452

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