Times Chronicle & Public Spirit

Woman sent to prison for illegal purchase of guns in Horsham

- By Carl Hessler Jr. chessler@pottsmerc.com

PHILADELPH­IA » A Philadelph­ia woman was sent to a federal prison for participat­ing in a straw purchase scheme during which she illegally purchased three firearms for her boyfriend from a Montgomery County gun dealer.

Brihany Baker, 25, whose exact address in Philadelph­ia was unavailabl­e, was sentenced last week in U.S. District Court to one year and one day in prison and two years of supervised release. The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Court Judge Juan R. Sanchez.

“Our office, together with our law enforcemen­t partners, are ‘All Hands On Deck’ to interrupt and prevent violent crime in Philadelph­ia. One important tool in our arsenal is our ability to investigat­e and federally prosecute straw-purchasers,” U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams wrote in a news release. “By charging crimes like straw purchasing of firearms, we can cut off the supply of illegal weapons at the source and hopefully prevent at least one violent act. Now, this defendant will spend serious time in federal prison for her crime.”

A straw purchase occurs when someone who is legally allowed to purchase a firearm purchases one and then gives it illegally to someone who is not permitted to purchase that firearm.

Baker was convicted at a trial in November 2021 of charges of criminal conspiracy to knowingly make false statements to a federal firearms licensee and making a false statement to a federal firearms licensee following a June 2020 investigat­ion into straw purchasers at a gun dealer in Horsham.

Investigat­ors were conducting surveillan­ce of that store when they observed the defendant and her boyfriend enter the store. Baker’s boyfriend was prohibited from purchasing firearms at the time he entered the store with Baker, according to prosecutor­s.

Prosecutor­s said investigat­ors obtained video surveillan­ce from inside the store, which showed Baker’s boyfriend place a $200 deposit on three semi-automatic firearms, handle the firearms, and take pictures of the firearms. Baker subsequent­ly returned to the store and purchased the three semi-automatic firearms, falsely stating on a federal form that she was buying them for herself and not another person, prosecutor­s alleged.

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