How Firearms Make Their Way from Indiana Gun Shows to Chicago


A federal indictment charges two men with illegally selling 43 firearms to a government informant in Chicago in just under 26 hours, a volume made possible by gun shows and less restrictive state laws in Indiana, by far the No. 1 source of out-of-state guns used in crimes in Cook County, Il., reports the Chicago Tribune. Private gun sales in Indiana don’t require background checks, a waiting period, or even a record of the transaction. The scheme exposed by law enforcement illustrates the tidal wave of illegal guns confronting Chicago police as they battle surging numbers of homicides and shootings.

Allegations of the duo’s lucrative enterprise provide a textbook example of how criminals can exploit existing gun laws to put society’s most vulnerable at even greater risk. The atmosphere at Indiana gun shows was friendly and small-town — almost like a farmers market. Tucked among many of the weapons displays were signs in bold lettering that read “Private Sales,” “Cash Only” or “Private Collections.” “They are like an arms bazaar,” said Paul Helmke, Fort Wayne’s former mayor and onetime president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “We make it very, very easy for dangerous people to get guns.”

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