The city of Chicago filed a lawsuit Monday against Westforth Sports, a Gary, In., gun shop it says is responsible for the flow of hundreds and possibly thousands of guns into the nation’s third-largest city, making it one of the largest out-of-state sellers of guns used in crimes in the city, reports the Wall Street Journal. The lawsuit seeks the appointment of a special master to oversee the store’s operations and assure that it abides by federal gun laws for a period of five years, as well as monetary damages. Westforth Sports has been repeatedly cited by federal officials for allowing straw purchases, or purchases of guns intended for sale to third parties who couldn’t legally possess them. It cites years of audit data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, detailing repeated violations and two recommendations to revoke the store’s license.
The lawsuit says that Westforth has routinely ignored the signs of illegal sales including high volume, repetitive and multiple-sale transactions involving duplicate or near-duplicate firearms. It cites several examples of people facing federal charges who made multiple purchases from Westforth of guns that they later sold to other buyers, including those with criminal histories that forbid them to own guns. Mayor Lori Lightfoot said that the city recovers more guns every year than New York and Los Angeles combined.