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If You 'Lie and Buy' You'll Spend 10 Years in Prison

If You 'Lie and Buy' You'll Spend 10 Years in Prison

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John Daley ReportingIf you "lie and buy" a gun, you face a potential 10-year federal prison sentence. That's the word from Utah's US Attorney who has launched a new program aimed at deterring so-called straw purchases of guns, where someone uses their name to buy a gun for someone else.

For police one huge challenge is the proliferation of guns, many in the hands of convicted felons and gun traffickers. One trick often used is the straw purchase, where someone, perhaps a felon, gets someone else to buy them a firearm. That's against federal law. Now the feds and local partners in law enforcement are launching a new program as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods.

Firearms dealers are being asked to voluntarily use over-sized clipboards when customers fill out the necessary forms to buy a gun.

Paul Warner, U.S. Attorney, District of Utah: “The warning, I don’t think could be any clearer. Use your name to buy a gun for somebody else, go to prison for ten years.”

Lori Dyer, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms: “Our goal is to keep guns out of the wrong hands.”

Authorities point to a recent trafficking case where a Los Angeles man, Sharrod Bolten, used a woman to buy him 22 firearms in Utah in a four-month period. Three were recovered in hands of convicted felons, one was used in a crime in LA less than 160 days later.

Officials with Sportsman's Warehouse, which hosted today's press conference, say they believe the clip boards will help send a clear message.

Paul Spencer, Asst. Store Manager, Sportsman's Warehouse: "It shows the seriousness that we take as a hunting, a sporting goods retailer. We're not going to make one sale to jeopardize this business and our community."

Darrell Casper, Customer: "It's worth a shot, you know. And it's like anything else, try it and if it doesn't work, try something else."

The US Attorney's office says it is not targeting legitimate firearms owners. The priority here is to stop crime before it's committed. According to the US Attorney's office more than a thousand firearms cases have been indicted in Utah over the last three years. The most common violation -- felons found to be possessing a firearm.

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