A Philly man who confessed to stealing 10 firearms from gun shows and reselling them to pay for his heroin habit was the first defendant in the city hit with the state's new tougher laws on straw purchases of guns.
Raymond Thomas McCandless, 32, was sentenced Monday to five to 10 years, with 20 years of probation afterwards, under the "Brad Fox" law, which went into effect in 2013.
Before the law, named for a cop killed by a gun bought by a straw purchaser, McCandless could have faced as little as a year and a half in prison, said prosecutor JT Tartikoff.
Straw purchasers without a criminal record could get less than a year or no jail time before the law passed, he said.
In the two robberies, McCandless stole a Springfield 9mm, a Taurus .380-caliber, a Taurus .45-caliber, a Bersa .45, a .357 Magnum, a Taurus .40-caliber PT 24/7, a Glock 9mm Model 25, a High Point .380, a Charter Arms .38-caliber "Goldfinger," and a Smith & Wesson 1911 .45-caliber with a laser sight.
In total, the guns were worth a retail value of thousands of dollars. But McCandless admitted he sold them for a total of about $1,500.
Tartikoff, who sought 7.5 to 15 years for McCandless, said only two of the 10 guns McCandless stole and resold have been recovered.
One of those recovered belonged to a friend, and another was recovered during a domestic violence arrest after a woman claimed her boyfriend had pointed the gun at her head.
"Eight of them are still ticking time bombs in the hands of people who shouldn't have them," he said. "He's made Philadelphia a more dangerous place by doing what he's done."
"For cases like this, people think of it as a victimless crime, because nobody was shot. But you're talking about flooding the streets with illegal guns ... They're not going to be used for display," said CeaseFire PA program director Jeff Dempsey, who testified at McCandless' hearing. "It's tragic to think that these guns are out there, prohbably going to people who can't obtain them legally and and likely being used for crimes that will impact someone's life greatly."
The Brad Fox law
Brad Fox was a Plymouth Township Police Officer and Marine Corp veteran who served two tours in Iraq.
In 2012, Fox was killed in the line of duty by Andrew Thomas, 44, who had a straw-purchased gun.
Fox saw Thomas speeding and pursued him. After Thomas crashed, he shot at Fox and his K-9, Nick, striking Fox once in the head.
Thomas later killed himself. He was not legally allowed to buy a gun due to his criminal background, but had purchased nine guns from a straw purchaser.
The Bradley Fox Bill was passed by the state legislature the following year.
In addition to the law in his honor, a lawsuit has also been filed charging the store that sold a straw purchaser the guns later re-sold to Fox' killer.