Women are recruited to “straw purchase” firearms for felons and others who cannot pass criminal background checks.
Operation LIPSTICK has compiled a first-of-its-kind study based on media reports of women arrested for straw purchasing guns.
Women depicted in this study moved hundreds of guns into the hands of drug dealers, convicted felons, gang-involved youth, domestic abusers, and others. One woman bought 40 guns for felons in just two trips to the gun store.
Almost all of the cases involve relationship-based crimes: boyfriend-girlfriend, husband-wife, brother-sister, even grandmother-grandson. Some women needed the cash. One woman bought guns in exchange for Percocet and diapers.
In a number of cases, women were caught because diligent gun dealers tipped off police. Prosecutors say many of the women had no understanding of the consequences of their actions.
The consequences are calamitous. Women provided guns used to kill a pregnant police officer in Omaha, a mother caught in a crossfire in Newark, a Philadelphia mother’s only son who was shot in a dispute over a parking space, and others. The criminals they armed are responsible for shootings, robberies, car-jackings and other violent crimes throughout the country.
The women paid a price too. They lost custody of their children, jobs, scholarships, homes and freedom. Some are serving multiple-year prison sentences and many have a permanent criminal record.
This report demonstrates that straw purchasing by women is a serious, rampant crime that destroys lives and communities, breaks up families, exploits vulnerable women, and fuels soaring incarceration rates.
This is a non-exhaustive list. It includes only some of the women who were caught by law enforcement and whose stories were reported in the media. It does not include women throughout the country who hide, store and transport guns illegally every day.
These stories are just the tip of the iceberg…