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A former Philly prison guard illegally sold guns to people barred from owning them, prosecutors said

Amanda Barr, 37, illegally trafficked five guns she purchased at gun shows, prosecutors said.

Amanda Barr sold guns to convicted felons, authorities said, including one who they say used the weapon in a shooting in Philadelphia.
Amanda Barr sold guns to convicted felons, authorities said, including one who they say used the weapon in a shooting in Philadelphia.Read moreYONG KIM / Staff Photographer

A former Philadelphia corrections officer has been charged with illegally selling guns to felons, including a weapon that prosecutors say was used in a shooting in the city.

Amanda Barr, 37, has been charged with illegal sale or transfer of a firearm, falsification to police, and related offenses. She remained in custody Friday in lieu of $500,000 bail. There was no indication she had hired an attorney.

Barr, of Trevose, purchased five handguns between January 2018 and March 2019 at gun shows held at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Montgomery County, according to the affidavit of probable cause for her arrest. She made the purchases while working as a prison guard, before she was fired last fall as a result of the investigation. City payroll records show Barr was hired in 2005 and had been paid $51,197 annually.

Barr reported two of the guns stolen to Bensalem police in February 2019, but she never accounted for five other guns, according to investigators. One of them, a .22-caliber handgun, was recovered from Terrelle Johnson, the suspect in a December 2020 shooting. Johnson was not able to legally purchase or carry a gun because of prior felony convictions, the affidavit said.

» READ MORE: A gun ring illegally armed criminals in the region with more than 30 firearms, Montgomery County DA says

Another gun was taken from Jason Augustus during a traffic stop in Philadelphia in February 2021. Like Johnson, Augustus was legally barred from owning a gun.

In a November interview with agents from the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Barr said she had resold the guns legally through a third-party dealer, but was unable to provide proof of the transactions, the affidavit said. Instead, the agents found evidence that she had been selling the guns through social media, advertising each for sale for between $500 and $600.

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele, whose office has prosecuted several gun trafficking rings in the region, said Friday that Barr’s crimes were a threat to public safety.

“We have firearms laws for a reason — and one of the biggest is to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and keep our communities safe,” Steele said. “Law enforcement at all levels is committed to working together to fight the arming of criminals through these illegal straw purchases and gun trafficking.”