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Philadelphia sues gun vendors it alleges engaged in straw purchases

Mayor Kenney, Philadelphia leaders announce lawsuit against several gun vendors
Mayor Kenney, Philadelphia leaders announce lawsuit against several gun vendors 14:44

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Philadelphia is suing several firearms vendors it claims "recklessly and repeatedly engaged" in straw purchasing transactions, the city said Tuesday. The city alleges the vendors have fueled its gun violence crisis.

Two Northeast Philadelphia vendors -- Frank's Gun Shop and Shooting Range and Delia's Gun Shop -- and are named in the lawsuit, the city said. Tanner's Sports Center in Jamison, Pennsylvania, is also named.

Philadelphia is alleging the vendors are the source of more than 1,300 guns recovered from crimes in the city from 2015 to 2019.

The city accused Frank's Gun Shop and Shooting Range, Delia's Gun Shop and Tanner's Sports Center of consistently proceeding with gun sales despite signs of illegal activity such as high volumes, multiple sales of duplicate firearms and producing fake IDs.

Between March 2018 and March 2022, the city alleges the three vendors sold at least 158 guns to 32 straw purchasers. The guns were used in homicides and non-fatal shootings, among others.

What is straw purchasing?

The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General defines straw purchasing as "when one individual buys a gun for another individual who is unable to purchase their own gun legally, and it's the "most common channel identified in trafficking investigations."

According to the AG's office, more than 30,000 straw purchase attempts happen each year.

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