Utahn attempted to illegally buy gun 3 times through others, charges state

Utahn attempted to illegally buy gun 3 times through others, charges state

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FARMINGTON — A Layton man who is restricted from buying a gun attempted to purchase a weapon three times in one week, according to charging documents.

The man now faces felony charges along with two women who police say attempted to make a straw purchase for him.

Ty Richard Anderson, 24, was charged May 10 in 2nd District Court with two counts of being a restricted person in possession of a weapon, a second-degree felony; illegal transaction of a firearm, a third-degree felony; obstructing justice, a class A misdemeanor; drug possession and possession of drug paraphernalia, both class B misdemeanors.

Identical charges were also filed against his co-defendants, Casey Lynne Anderson, 22, of Layton, and Jessica Emily Coons, 25, of Layton, except Coons is not charged with obstruction, according to court documents.

On Feb. 28, police say Anderson purchased a pistol in Logan at Sportsman's Warehouse. But soon after, the business that sold the weapon learned from the Bureau of Criminal identification that Anderson was on probation for drug possession and was not allowed to possess a gun, the charges state. The store contacted Anderson and told him to return the weapon.

"Still wanting that Smith & Wesson Luger pistol, however, Ty Anderson and his live-in girlfriend Jessica Coons went to Cabela's in Farmington on March 4, 2019. The problem was that Jessica Coons, too, was on probation," the charges state. "While at the Farmington Cabela's, as seen on the video surveillance, Jessica attempted to purchase the Luger pistol Anderson wanted, as he stood by her. However, the sale was denied.

"Undeterred, Ty Anderson tried for a third time to obtain the Smith & Wesson Luger pistol, using a different straw person," the charges say.

Anderson this time allegedly got his sister, Casey Anderson, to go back to Cabela's to purchase the same gun he looked at before.

"The completion of the sale was denied, however, based on it being a suspected straw purchase. As it turned out, it was," the charges state.

Farmington police served a search warrant on Ty Anderson's cellphone and discovered he was coaching his sister on how to purchase the gun, according to charging documents.

"He used her credit card to order the firearm online and have it shipped to Cabela's in Farmington, using her information. He gave her instructions on how to pick it up and how to answer the questions on form 4473 that gun purchasers must fill out (and she did falsely check the box stating that the gun was for her). He specifically coached her to answer the question that the gun was for her and not anyone else. He agreed to pay her back for getting the gun for him," the charges state.

"A search warrant was obtained for Anderson's bank records to confirm his transferring money to his sister to pay her for the attempted straw purchase."

Investigators noted in their search warrant affidavit filed in 2nd District Court: "Based upon the fact that the three attempted purchases occurred within one week of each other, that Ty, Jessica and Casey live at the same address, that Ty is on Cabela's video surveillance with Jessica during her attempted purchase, and that the gun is the same make and model for all three attempts, it appears that Ty is attempting to have others purchase a Smith and Wesson SD9 9 mm Luger pistol for him."

A straw purchase is when a firearm is purchased on behalf of someone else who cannot legally buy a gun on their own.

The case is the latest of several recent incidents in Utah of people being arrested and charged with making straw purchases.

• In April, John Cody Thompson, 20, was indicted by a federal grand jury for buying a gun and giving it to someone else who used it in a fatal shooting. Bronson Joseph Flynn, 26, of Ivins, Washington County — who is accused of shooting and killing Spencer Maluafiti Tafua, 34, outside the One and Only Bar in St. George on Dec. 29 — is listed as a co-defendent.

• Also in April, Richard Gonzalez, 33, of Tremonton, was arrested for investigation of three counts of being a restricted person in possession of a weapon, two counts of illegal transaction of a firearm, and two counts of being a restricted person purchasing a firearm, after police say he gave false information on a gun purchase application.

A data entry error allowed him to purchase a gun a first time, according to investigators. But he was discovered when he attempted to purchase a second gun. Police said Gonzalez "has a history of violence and mental health issues."

• On March 13, Sarah Emily Lady, 24, of Mapleton, and Nathan Daniel Vogel, 21, of Millcreek, were charged in federal court with making a straw purchase of a Beretta PX4 Storm .40-caliber handgun and then loaning the gun to an "acquaintance," according to a federal indictment.

Five days after loaning the weapon, Melvin Rowland used it to shoot Lauren McCluskey in a parking lot outside her campus dorm at the University of Utah, the indictment states.

Each year, the state investigates between 1,800 and 2,000 cases of restricted people trying to purchase firearms, according to the Utah State Bureau of Investigation. Starting in July, thanks to recently approved funding from the governor, the state will add two agents whose full-time jobs will be to investigate such cases.

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Pat Reavy is a longtime police and courts reporter. He joined the KSL.com team in 2021, after many years of reporting at the Deseret News and KSL NewsRadio before that.


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