Gun-control advocates have joined Philadelphia Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson in calling for more prosecutions of gun dealers who sell to the gun-traffickers and straw purchasers, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence released a national report, “Shady Dealings: Illegal Gun Trafficking from Licensed Gun Dealers,” that highlights more than two dozen cases – including nine in Pennsylvania – of dealers who sold guns that wound up in the hands of criminals. The criminals were prosecuted but the dealers were not.
The report cited a store called Abington Gun Sports that allegedly sold to female straw buyers working for a man who authorities say went on a 2003 crime rampage in Philadelphia. Frank D. Strange, owner of Abington Gun Sports, said in a phone interview that he was vigilant about straw buyers and anyone else who shouldn’t be buying guns, but that he couldn’t spot everybody trying to fool him. Strange, 63, a retired banker, called the Brady Center “a bunch of whackjobs” who want to “disarm everybody.” Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Center and former mayor of Fort Wayne, In., said federal gun enforcement had been greatly weakened by pro-dealer legislation Congress passed, including some laws dating to 1986. For example, if agents make a surprise visit to a gun shop suspected of breaking the law, they are not allowed to make another surprise visit for 12 months.