Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 25, 2015
Contact: Mike Naple, mnaple [at] bradymail [dot] org,
Brady Protests Philly’s Firing Line, Inc. as Part of National Campaign to Stop ‘Bad Apple’ Gun Dealers
At Least 64 Crime Guns Sold by Philadelphia Dealer
Philadelphia, PA – The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, community leaders, and advocates united on April 25 to protest Philadelphia gun dealer Firing Line, Inc., for contributing to the alarming number of guns on the streets of Philadelphia. The protesters called on Firing Line to adopt sensible business practices that can prevent their guns from ending up in the wrong hands. At least 64 guns recovered in crimes have been traced back to Firing Line, and at least five sales to straw purchasers (individuals buying guns for others) or gun traffickers (individuals buying guns to illegally resell) have reportedly taken place at the store.
Firing Line never responded to a letter the Brady Campaign sent them regarding the adoption of responsible business practices. The Brady Campaign was joined by advocates from its New Jersey Million Mom March Chapter, Heeding God's Call, Mothers in Charge, CeaseFire PA, and others.
“We are putting ‘bad apple’ gun dealers on notice for their reckless and irresponsible business practices that put guns in the hands of criminals and on our streets. These ‘bad apple’ dealers choose profits over people, contributing to the daily, tragic toll of gun violence in Philadelphia and communities across the country,” said Dan Gross, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “We are fed up with the violence on our streets and we’re mobilizing the communities most affected by these reckless gun dealers to demand change. This is something we can all do to make a real difference to keep crime guns off the streets and keep our families and communities safe.”
“It is well past time for gun retailers, like Firing Line, who have sold a high number of guns used in crime to start acting as good citizens and eschew selling to straw buyers and traffickers. This city needs gun sellers to get behind safety by refusing to take blood money,” said Bryan Miller, Executive Director of Heeding God’s Call.
Brady’s efforts are focused on addressing the sources of crime guns in areas that suffer significant amounts of gun violence. About three people are shot every day within the city of Philadelphia. According to the Police Executive Research Forum, during a single week in April 2012, reports showed three people were killed with guns, 14 more were shot and wounded, 68 gun-related robberies occurred, and a total of 144 firearms-related crimes were reported. The economic cost of that single week of gun violence was estimated to be more than $20 million.
Brady’s campaign to Stop Bad Apple Gun Dealers launched this past September in Chicago with a protest that mobilized local communities directly affected by violence perpetrated with guns sold by “bad apple” dealers and used in crime. Advocates and community members joined together to bring attention to the problem of “bad apple” gun dealers and shine a light on how those dealers contribute to gun violence and crime in those communities.
“While the majority of gun dealers are responsible business owners who sell absolutely no crime guns, we need to be on watch for dealers who choose to profit off the criminal market and wind up putting guns into dangerous hands and onto our streets,” added Gross. “We are taking on these ‘bad apple’ gun dealers in the courts to hold them accountable for the tragic toll of their reckless and irresponsible behavior.”
Joining Brady to protest Firing Line were Philadelphia City Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr.; Bryan Miller, Executive Director of Heeding God’s Call; Cherie Ryans of Mothers in Charge; Fritz Walker of CeaseFire PA; members of the Brady New Jersey Million Mom March Chapter; and other community advocates.
"While most firearms dealers are reputable business people, it's a few disreputable dealers -- the bad apples -- who are responsible for arming an awful lot of criminals,” said Fritz Walker of CeaseFire PA. “In fact, 90 percent of crime guns are traceable to just five percent of gun dealers. And unfortunately, Firing Line displays all the wrong characteristics: a history of guns traced to crime originating from their store, repeated allegations of sales to straw purchasers, and the list goes on.”
For 25 years, the Brady Center has filed lawsuits to hold gun dealers accountable for their irresponsible business practices. In Wortham v. Ed’s Pawn Shop, Brady successfully represented the parents of Thomas Wortham IV, a Chicago Police Officer, Iraq War veteran, and community leader who was shot and killed by gang members outside his parents’ home. The handgun used in the murder was purchased by a straw buyer at Ed’s Pawn Shop in Byhalia, Mississippi, which now videotapes its sales as a result of the lawsuit.
“I have a burning desire to bring attention to those gun shop owners who sell to straw purchasers and who refuse to use sensible gun policies. If it takes protesting in front of their stores, I'm all in. My son didn't have a chance. I want to help give somebody else a chance to live,” said Cherie Ryans, an advocate with Mothers in Charge.
A key component of this campaign to reform gun industry practices is the Gun Dealer Code of Conduct, which Brady advocates are encouraging gun dealers across the nation to sign. The Code of Conduct defines some policies and practices gun dealers should adopt to prevent the diversion of guns into the illegal market. Each element of the proposed Code has either been suggested by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), imposed as a legal requirement in certain states, accepted by dealers as part of litigation settlements, or urged as a standard by major gun industry trade associations.
Implementing the Code, in addition to following all applicable federal, state and local laws regarding gun sales, will dramatically decrease the probability that a dealer will be a source of guns for criminals, gun traffickers, straw purchasers and other prohibited or dangerous people.
To learn more about the Stop Bad Apple Gun Dealers campaign, see a list of pending lawsuits against gun dealers, and read the Code of Conduct for responsible gun sales, visit: BradyCampaign.org/StopBadApples.
The mission of the Brady organization is to create a safer America for all of us that will lead to a dramatic reduction in gun deaths and injuries. For more insight on gun violence prevention, follow us on Facebook and Twitter @BradyBuzz.