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Local and federal law enforcement seize more than 2 dozen guns in joint operation

Operation Scarecrow began in April 2021 and has resulted in 10 people being charged in federal court for using third parties or "straw parties" to purchase guns.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — On Monday, local and federal law enforcement announced they’ve joined efforts to combat gun violence in Harrisburg and surrounding counties.

Leaders with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, ATF and the Harrisburg Bureau of Police discussed “Operation Scarecrow,” an initiative that targets people who illegally purchase guns.

“For every gun we take off the street represents a possible life saved,” said Bruce Brandler, the State Attorney for Middle Pennsylvania.

Law enforcement began the operation in April and have since recovered 26 guns and charged 10 people with federal crimes for using third parties or “straw parties” to illegally purchase guns on their behalf.

“The information comes from a variety of sources. Sometimes the gun dealer will report a suspicious transaction,” Brandler said.

Gun violence has had a significant impact on many like 43-year-old Ricky Banks.

Back in 1993, then 16-year-old Banks was driving his mother’s car when he was shot in the head. The injury left him blind.

“I was in Hershey fighting for my life,” Banks said.

Banks is now a motivational speaker and encourages many across the country to put guns down.

“I might speak to youths, I mean speak to women, I might speak to people in jail,” Banks added.

With the rising homicide rate in Harrisburg, Banks said there’s room for improvement.

“They’ve really turned it around but I think they could turn it around some more. You gotta give back to the city and show the city that y’all doing something,” Banks said.

As for “Operation Scarecrow,” city officials say it is a continued effort and they will update the public on more results in the months to come.

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