Florida law inspires confusion over whether ‘straw-buyer’ of weapon can be charged

Image: FormerWMdriver/Flickr Local law enforcement officials continue to grapple with…

1988 Pinellas County Dodge Diplomat (still owned by Pinellas County)
Image: FormerWMdriver/Flickr

Local law enforcement officials continue to grapple with Florida’s firearm possession laws as they seek a way to punish the buyer of a gun investigators say was used in an Oldsmar double murder.

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney’s Office said last week that there was no way to bring charges against the gun purchaser, a friend of the alleged shooter, under existing state law. Instead, the buyer’s case is being referred to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

But as they delve into state criminal law, prosecutors and sheriff’s investigators say they are finding a more complex situation than expected.

The Tampa Bay Times asked Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri this week about a provision in Florida statutes that appears to apply to so-called “straw purchases” of guns for people who are barred from owning them.

Read the rest of Peter Jamison’s report at Tampa Bay Times.

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