City of Philadelphia sues three local gun stores for illegal ‘straw purchase’ sales

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the City of Philadelphia is suing three local gun stores for allegedly selling firearms to “straw purchasers.”

According to city officials, the stores have knowingly sold firearms to individuals who buy guns on behalf of those legally prohibited from doing so, such as juveniles or those with criminal records.

“These gun shop owners turn a blind eye to the consequences of their actions,” Mayor Jim Kenney said at a City Hall news conference Tuesday. “They know exactly what they’re doing. … They are profiting off the mayhem that they help create.”

The city is targeting Delia’s Gun Shop and Frank’s Gun Shop & Shooting Range in Northeast Philadelphia, and Tanner’s Sport Center in Jamison, Bucks County. Between 2015 and 2019, about 1,300 guns from those stores were recovered by Philadelphia police in relation to criminal investigations, including 158 “crime guns” proven to have been obtained through straw purchasers.

From the article:

The lawsuit is the latest in a series of attempts by the city to gain some leverage over the issue through the courts. It comes three weeks after Kenney announced a separate lawsuit aimed at manufacturers of “ghost guns,” untraceable and increasingly common weapons that can be purchased without background checks and assembled at home.

Little has come so far of the city’s various attempts at litigation over gun control. But Kenney said his administration will pursue every opportunity it has to reduce shootings and homicides.

So far in 2023, Philadelphia police have recorded 240 homicides, a 22% decrease from this time in 2021 when the city set a record with 562 homicides.

A number of straw purchase-related events have taken place in the greater Glenside region this year, including Tamir Hartsock’s May arrest, the sentencing of Mikal Scott in June, and the dismantling of a large gun trafficking organization in February.

For the full story by The Inquirer, you can click here.

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