Now, that's tough.

Sen. Larry Farnese wants to put a five-year minimum sentence on serial straw purchasers -- those are the nonfelons who buy guns for criminals who couldn't otherwise purchase them legally.

Here's the release:

Harrisburg----Senator Larry Farnese today announced that he has introduced legislation to reinstate the mandatory sentencing provision for straw purchases of multiple firearms.

"A person convicted of multiple purchases must be held accountable for those multiple purchases," said Senator Farnese.  "This is common sense and holds straw purchasers properly accountable for their crimes.  A five-year mandatory minimum may also serve as a deterrent for those who would otherwise engage in straw purchasing."

Current law provides that a second or subsequent violation of section 6111 shall be punishable by a mandatory sentence of imprisonment of five years (18 Pa. C.S. 6111 (h)(1).

However, the recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court case of Commonwealth v. Jarowecki, decided December 30, 2009, ruled that identical language in a child pornography statute required that for this type of mandatory provision to apply, the second offense must have been committed after conviction for the first offense.

Because straw purchasers must have clean background checks in order to buy the guns in the first place, the court's interpretation of this language for child pornography violations makes little sense when considered for straw purchasing violations.

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