Wisconsin Assembly passes ‘straw’ gun purchases bill

A bill strengthening the penalties for legally buying a firearm with the intent to provide the weapon to someone barred from having a gun is headed to Gov. Scott Walker.

The Assembly passed the bill targeting the practice known as “straw” purchases Thursday. The Senate passed it earlier this week.

Under current law it’s a misdemeanor, punishable by up to nine months in jail, for someone to knowingly give a firearm to someone prohibited from possessing one. The bill makes it a felony, punishable by up to six years in prison.

The measure is supported by law enforcement agencies and Milwaukee officials who say it will help combat the problem in Wisconsin’s largest city.