Legislation strengthens sentencing for straw purchasers

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The Senate Wednesday unanimously approved a bill designed to ensure that offenders who illegally buy guns for criminals to use will face at least five years in prison.

Gov. Tom Corbett is expected to sign the legislation allowing the strengthened sentencing for so-called straw purchasers who repeatedly supply firearms to people banned from buying them.

The bill allows a second illegal gun transfer committed after an initial offense to count as a repeat offense. Currently, the repeat offense designation applies to a crime that occurs after the first conviction.

The director of CeaseFirePA, a gun control group, called the vote a major victory.

"It's the first time in more than a decade a piece of legislation specifically addressing gun violence by cracking down on illegal guns and people who supply illegal guns has passed out of the state Legislature," said director Max Nacheman.

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