The so-called Brad Fox Law is headed to Gov. Tom Corbett's desk, though it's perhaps not the one some gun control advocates might hope for.
House Bill 898, which imposes a mandatory minimum five-year sentence for the second and subsequent violations of the provisions of state law governing the sale of firearms, was unanimously passed by the state Senate on Wednesday.
The law also permanently revokes any license to sell, import, or manufacture firearms from such violators.
The bill, now known as the "Brad Fox Law," was passed by the state House in April 2011. It amends the Pennsylvania Crimes Code to ensure that anyone convicted with more than one illegal sale or transfer of a firearm is subject to penalties associated with second or subsequent offenses – regardless of whether the defendant has been sentenced for the prior violations.
Fox's apparent killer, Andrew Thomas, who was not permitted to own firearms, allegedly purchased the murder weapon from Michael Henry, who is accused of selling nine weapons to Thomas after meeting him earlier this year.
“Our laws prohibit convicted felons from possessing firearms, and straw purchasers – those who buy firearms for others who cannot legally possess them – must be punished severely,” bill co-sponsor State Rep. Todd Stephens (R-151) of Horsham said in a press release. “House Bill 898 ensures straw purchasers, who commit second and subsequent offenses, get the prison time they deserve.”
The law does not implement any new restrictions on the purchase or sale of firearms.
The law would take effect 60 days after Corbett signs it.