HARRISBURG, Oct. 18, 2012 — Legislation that toughens penalties on individuals who illegally purchase firearms for criminals — a practice commonly known as straw purchasing — is headed to the governor’s desk after receiving unanimous support in the Pennsylvania Senate on Wednesday, according to state Sen. Anthony H. Williams.

House Bill 898 mandates a five-year minimum sentence for individuals who are convicted of making multiple straw purchases of firearms.

“Thousands of young people across Pennsylvania are being shot down in the prime of their lives because of wrong-minded people who have been allowed to purchase guns in multitudes and pass them on to criminals for decades,” said Williams. “This legislation is a step toward correcting the problem of guns getting into the wrong hands.

“My hope is that this will not just start a conversation but will correct a policy — one that recognizes the second amendment is a right and there is a standard by which we are allowed to have arms in this country to hunt, for sport and to protect ourselves but that punishes those who have the ability to get guns into the hands of those who should never possess a firearm,” Williams said. “The act of straw purchasing is not a minor activity. It is a human tragedy.”