An Indiana man was arrested and charged with illegally purchasing the firearm that was used to kill Chicago police Officer Ella French on Saturday night.
Danzy, 29, made an initial court appearance Monday and was ordered to remain in federal custody until a detention hearing Wednesday.
“Tragedies like this happen when people straw purchase firearms on behalf of those who are prohibited from purchasing and possessing firearms themselves,” Kristen de Tineo, special agent-in-charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said in a statement.
Straw purchasers can pass background checks, which means they can legally purchase firearms from gun dealers and then pass the weapons on to others who can’t buy them legally.
According to Alla Lefkowitz, the litigation director at Everytown Law, straw purchasers are flooding Chicago’s streets with guns.
Lefkowitz and Everytown Law are representing the city of Chicago in its suit against Westforth Sports in Indiana for selling to straw purchasers hundreds of guns that wound up on the city’s streets.
“We looked at every illegal gun purchase case in the Northern District of Indiana, where Westforth Sports is located, for about the last six years, and found that 44% of all prosecutions involved individuals who purchased guns from Westforth,” Lefkowitz said. “As we alleged in our lawsuit, court documents show that Westforth sold at least 180 guns to at least 40 people later charged in federal crimes in connection with these purchases. In one case, one defendant is accused of having bought 19 guns from Westforth Sports in 2020.”
“Most dealers won’t sell a single crime gun in a year. And then there are other dealers who sell multiple crime guns,” Lefkowitz said. “If that happens, why are distributors still sending guns to that dealer?”
Lefkowitz and Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Prevention and Policy, join “Chicago Tonight" to discuss straw purchasing.
Additional reporting by Matt Masterson.