An Indiana man is in deep water after a gun he purchased in Indiana was used to shoot two Chicago police officers recently — one of them fatally. Police say that the semi-auto handgun was purchased in Indiana as part of a straw operation.
Essentially, felons skirt federal background check requirements by setting up straw buyers to purchase weapons on their behalf for a fee. The gun, however, remains registered in the name of the straw buyer. When that gun shows up on the streets after being used to injure one cop and kill another, you can bet that the police will come after the individual who purchased the gun illegally, placing it into the stream of commerce, with the result that one cop was fatally killed.
According to police, the defendant purchased the weapon at a federal firearms dealership in Indiana. Shortly thereafter, it was used in violent crimes against police.
Huge Chicago Crackdown
Ever since then-President Trump threatened to occupy Democratic-run cities with the FBI, Chicago and other major cities have worked closely with federal authorities to curb the gun trade. In fact, that was one of their primary objectives, to get weapons off the streets.
Now, the weapons themselves are not illegal. Their purchase appears on the surface to be legal. But possessing the weapon is illegal, which complicates matters significantly. The government cannot prevent the sale of these weapons legally. They cannot force a federally-authorized vendor to vet every single purchase made. If the customer has the proper licensure, then they can purchase the weapon.
Cracking down on straw buyers is, however, easy. The guns are easily traceable to the straw buyers who make a little bit of money for each purchase. Nonetheless, they assume all the risk. When the guns are used in criminal acts, the guns can be traced back to the straw buyers. In a case like this, where a gun is used to murder a police officer, the straw buyer will be made an example of to deter future straw buyers from committing the same crime.
Their strategy is thus to increase the risk tenfold on those who purchase weapons illegally for black market trade, while the reward remains a couple of hundred dollars.
The defendant will face charges related to defrauding the federal government on a handgun application, illegally transferring ownership of the weapon to an out-of-state resident, and other related charges involving lying on the application.
However, if the legislature is so inclined, they could draft a law that make all those who straw purchase weapons responsible (via felony murder) for the injuries or deaths caused by that weapon.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Today
Chicago criminal defense attorney David Freidberg represents the interests of defendants in criminal cases. If you have been charged with a serious crime, call our office today at (312) 560-7100 and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.