In recent weeks, Bucks County has received two substantial grants. One is $223,129 to prevent and reduce local gun violence, from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. It will pay for investigative equipment and overtime for municipal police officers, specifically to prevent the straw purchase of guns in the county. The second grant offers police officers de-escalation education, the ideal way to fund the police.
In six visits to a gun shop on York Road in Warminster in July, August and September, Sharon Jones, 44, bought 19 (yes, 19) handguns, claiming they were for her personal use. They included two .40 caliber Glocks, and handguns from Sig Sauer, Ruger, Smith & Wesson and others. At least there were no AK 47s.
It should not have taken a year for the Philadelphia Police Department to catch on that no one woman needed 19 handguns to defend herself, no matter what neighborhood she lived in. But it took them, the FBI, ATF, DEA and Homeland Security a year to crack the case, and arrest Jones, by which time those 19 guns were presumably out of her hands.
She made her first appearance in court on August 27, 2021, charged with one count of dealing in firearms without a license and six counts of making false statements to a federal firearms licensee during the purchase of firearms. That firearms licensee was here in Bucks County, who apparently did not recognize that Ms. Jones was making a “straw purchase” of guns – buying guns pretending to be the final owner while intending to resell them. If convicted she will face 35 years in prison.
She joins Tyrone Gresham, 24, who bought 17 guns in Bucks County from 2019 to earlier this year, and resold those guns to others in Philadelphia, Montgomery County and, yes, this very county. He was caught, too, along with two others, who hid in the car and gave him a list of guns to buy.
No wonder angry, sweating, red-faced loonies are brandishing guns on the Bucks County highways in fits of “road rage” and in parks, and then disappearing, maybe to threaten people about mask mandates on the Internet. Apparently, any yahoo with a wallet can buy a gun, no need for a mental health check, required to buy a gun legally. Perhaps that grant will also help firearms dealers in Bucks County to do their jobs according to the law. Or is there another grant we can apply for, for that?
The second grant was for the Central Bucks Regional Police Department and was the first grant for a Pennsylvania police department from a national $33 million fund administered by the Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS).
For whatever reason, COPS apparently felt that the Central Bucks Regional Police Department needed, or deserved, $159,037, for a law enforcement de-escalation program, which will involve “scenario-based exercises.” And you know how police officers love role-playing exercises.
Sub-awards are being granted to Buckingham, Doylestown, and Plumstead Township Police Departments.
There is no question that Central Bucks needs to de-escalate, and perhaps after the election it will happen. Unless someone disputes the results.