Will Tan's gun purchaser face charges?

Rochester, N.Y. - The purchase of the gun used in the murder of Jim Tan is now being questioned by a local mom.

Dawn Chung wants to know why her daughter, Dawn Nguyen, is in prison for a similar crime.

The young man who bought the gun used in the Tan murder, Whitney Knickerbocker, has not been charged.

Dawn Nguyen was convicted of making an illegal straw purchase--buying the gun convicted felon William Spengler used to kill two firefighters from the West Webster Fire Department in December, 2012.

Nguyen is serving 12 years for the crime. Her mother has started a petition to release Nguyen from prison if Knickerbocker is not prosecuted.

"Why make someone an example if you refuse to follow it?" Chung wrote. "They said the reason they wanted Dawn convicted was to stop straw purchases."

Prosecutors say that Knickerbocker, a longtime friend, classmate and fraternity brother of Charlie Tan, bought a gun with the intention of giving it to Tan.

Tan is a Canadian citizen, and some say a background check may have made buying the gun problematic.

Instead of Tan purchasing the gun, video presented in court appears to show Knickerbocker at a Walmart in Cortland, purchasing the gun that would later be given to Tan.

According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, an illegal straw purchase "occurs when the actual buyer of a firearm is unable to pass the required federal background check, or does not want his or her full name associated with the purchase, and has someone else who can pass the required background check purchase the firearm for him or her."

13WHAM News reached out to the New York Northern District U.S. Attorney's office to see if Knickerbocker would be facing charges for what appears to be a straw purchase.

Rick Belliss, an Assistant U.S. Attorney said that he is not familiar with Knickerbocker or the case, adding that it did not appear that anybody by the name of Knickerbocker was currently charged.

Belliss did say that the circumstances behind the gun purchase, as it was explained to him, did resemble a straw purchase, but he declined to say whether or not the Northern District Office would be prosecuting Knickerbocker.

A communications director for the Northern District Office later called to say that the office would not and could not comment on the matter.

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