Chicago PD announced a new team that will target straw purchasers for guns. Essentially, felons or others who would otherwise be prevented from applying for a gun permit pay someone else to perform the transaction for them. The straw buyer then gives the weapon to the felon who now has a gun. According to Chicago police, this is how a large number of weapons sold outside of Chicago end up on Chicago streets.
The federal-local team will consist of Chicago P.D. and the ATF. Investigators are focusing on gun traffickers, straw purchasers, and unscrupulous gun store owners who do less than the legal requirement to ensure their buyers are legitimate.
Illegal Gun Sales at Legal Gun Stores
The initiative highlights a renewed urge to prevent illegal weapons from making their way onto Chicago streets. This elusive aim has become the foundation of all efforts to curb violent crime in Chicago. With city authorities making it more difficult for legal purchases to be made within the city, many individuals turn to suburban Illinois or neighboring Indiana to purchase guns. More often than not, these purchases are legal. However, felons and other bad actors can exploit the process by paying a third party with a clean record to purchase the gun for them. The gun then ends up as part of a crime scene, and Chicago police trace the gun back to an area store. The area store, knowing that the gun was purchased illegally, claims that they did everything by the book. In reality, many of these stores appear to be looking the other way, ignoring obvious red flags, and selling the guns anyway.
The gun industry claims that the U.S. government is forcing them to do their job. Essentially, gun store owners are not police officers who are privy to the latest intelligence and capable of recognizing red flags or other issues that may prevent the purchase of the weapon.
2021 Gun Violence
2021 has seen an uptick in gun violence with a 26% increase in seizures relating to weapons. This is not a statistic that police are proud of. They are hoping to get that number down as more guns on the streets lead to increased violence.
However, there may be a more cynical explanation for the renewed interest in gun crimes. The Mayor and Chief of Police tend to take the blame when violence in the city gets out of control. Instead of taking responsibility, they can blame nebulous and negligent gun store operators in other states who fail to thoroughly investigate purchasers.
Nonetheless, over 400 people have been killed by gun violence in Chicago thus far. So blaming out-of-state gun stores becomes the perfect political defense to rising violence and a failure of the police force to curb that violence.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are one of the many gun store owners who are now being asked to play cop for the government, Chicago criminal defense attorney David Freidberg can help with any legal needs acquire in light of the new anti-gun initiative. Call us today at (312) 560-7100 to discuss your options in greater detail.