March 11, 2022
A former Philadelphia corrections officer is in custody for allegedly straw purchasing several firearms and trafficking them on social media, the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office announced on Friday.
Amanda Barr, 37, has been charged with the unlawful sale or transfer of a firearm, dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, making false statements to law enforcement and other related offenses.
A straw purchase is when someone with a clean background purchases a firearm for someone else with the goal of hiding the true ownership of the gun.
The investigation began when two guns registered to Barr were found in Philadelphia in the possession of people who were not legally allowed to carry them, authorities said.
According to police, one was found on a man accused of being involved in a December 2020 shooting. Another was found during a February 2021 traffic stop in the pants of a driver who did not have a concealed carry license.
Barr was still employed as a corrections officer in November 2021 when she was interviewed about the matter by agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, but she resigned shortly after.
She allegedly told investigators that the weapons were resold legally but couldn't provide any paperwork to confirm that.
Investigators found that Barr bought seven firearms between December 2018 and March 2019. Six of the purchases were made at gun shows at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Montgomery County and one was made in Philly.
Two of the guns were reported missing by Barr in February 2018, but these were not the two weapons recovered by authorities. The other five guns she bought were not in her possession.
Further investigation found that Barr had sold the weapons through social media for between $500 and $600 and then met with the buyers in person to complete the transactions, police said.
Barr is currently being held at the Montgomery County Jail on $500,000 bail. Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, March 29.