Does Lost & Stolen Legislation Deter Crime?

The claim made by proponents of Lost & Stolen legislation is that it will reduce straw purchasing of firearms, and by extension firearm violence by providing an additional deterrence of fines and slap-on-the-wrist punishments to potential straw purchasers. The question they fail to answer however is how will someone willing to commit multiple state and federal felonies that can result in decades worth of jail time be deterred by a fine?

Let’s take a look at a partial list of the most serious laws a straw purchaser breaks when engaging in a straw purchase:

Crime Punishment Description
Criminal Conspiracy
Federal: 18 U.S.C § 371
State: 18 Pa.C.S. § 903
Federal: Felony, up to 5 years and $125,000 fine
State: Second Degree Misdemeanor?
When two or more people conspire to deceive a firearms dealer and engage in the straw purchase of a firearm.
Making False Statements
Federal: 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(6), 18 U.S.C. § 924(a)(1)(A)
State: 18 Pa.C.S. § 6111(g)(4)
Federal: Felony, up to 5 years and $125,000 fine
State: Felony, up to 5 years
When a straw purchaser deceives the seller of a firearm about the nature of the transaction.
Illegal Transfer
State: 18 Pa.C.S. § 6111(g)(1)
State: Felony, up to 5 years When the straw purchaser illegally transfers the firearm directly to the prohibited party.
Transfer to a Prohibited Party
Federal: 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)
State: 18 Pa.C.S. § 6111(g)(2)
Federal: Felony, up to 10 years and $125,000 fine
State: Felony, up to 5 years
When a person provides a firearm to a prohibited person such as a felon.

As we can see a straw purchaser can be put in jail for decades when aggressively prosecuted, so why are special interest gun control groups proposing fines? This is a question you should ask when they come to your town or statehouse.