A Delaware County woman is one of the first people in the state sentenced under a recent law inspired by a police officer who was killed in the line of duty.
Staci Dawson, 22, of Chester, was found guilty for the straw purchase of two handguns for a convicted felon. A straw purchase involves guns bought for someone who can’t pass a background check or who doesn’t want a gun registered in their name.
Investigators say Dawson bought a Kel-Tec 9mm model PF-9 handgun from a gun store in February. Dawson also purchased a Smith and Wesson .40 caliber handgun.
In March, Dawson’s boyfriend David Colon was arrested on drug charges while his alleged accomplice Shamar Atkinson was arrested on weapons charges. Police say Atkinson was in possession of the same Smith and Wesson that Dawson purchased.
When Dawson was brought in for questioning, she initially told police she bought the guns for her own protection and believed Colon had stolen them from her. Upon further investigation however, police determined that Dawson purchased the guns for Colon and Atkinson.
Dawson was arrested and found guilty on charges of conspiracy, making false reports to law enforcement and illegally selling or transferring firearms to another person.
“Reducing gun violence has been the number one priority of the Anti-Violence Task Force,” said District Attorney Jack Whelan. “We aggressively target straw purchases to reduce one of the methods convicted felons use to obtain firearms illegally. It is our hope that these prosecutions will discourage people from purchasing guns and placing them in the hands of dangerous criminals.”
Dawson will be sentenced for a mandatory minimum of five years due to the Brad Fox Law which was enacted in 2013. The law restores the minimum five year sentence for anyone convicted of making repeat straw gun purchases in Pennsylvania.
The law was created in honor of Officer Brad Fox, who was shot and killed in 2012 while chasing after a suspect on the Schuylkill River Trail in Montgomery County. The suspect, who shot and killed himself, got the gun through a straw purchase.
Dawson’s sentencing is scheduled for November 3.