Last week, 27-year-old Lamont Reaves was sentenced to two years in prison for trying to buy a gun in Richmond, Virginia, at a gun show. The New York man pleaded guilty to attempting to make an illegally purchase of a firearm on July 7. One Richmond based news agency says the incident is “being touted as a key example of the cooperation between licensed firearm dealers and police in stopping prohibited gun sales.”
Reaves is a felon with a record for a felony crack cocaine offense as well as previous gun related charges. He is prohibited from legally purchasing a firearm for this reason but at the Virginia gun show attempted to do so. However, the dealers he attempted to buy from alerted authorities to his suspicious behavior and would not sell to him. Witnesses say the felon went from table to table trying to buy a firearm without a background check. The federally licensed firearms dealers refused to sell to him and called Virginia state trooper D.M. Sottile who works with the dealers during gun shows.
Sottile arrested Reaves after identifying him as a convicted felon. Several dealers offered to testify against Reaves. Robert C. Cerullo, former police officer and prosecutor in the case, says this is a prime example of how federally licensed firearms dealers and law enforcement can work together to keep guns away from criminals. Sottile says many state troopers have relationships with firearms dealers at the gun shows. “Licensed gun dealers play a major role in stopping illegal gun purchases, especially straw purchases,” he says. Straw purchases are when one individual makes a purchase for another individual that can not make the purchase legally.
“In my experience at gun shows and licensed firearms storefronts throughout the Richmond area, dealers have contacted me if they suspect someone — through his or her conversation with the customer or the customer’s odd behavior — is attempting to make an illegal purchase.” added Sottile. “I can’t thank the dealers enough with whom I work with for their help in aiding in criminal prosecution.”
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