Tracking Gun’s Path to a Killing

Before the 14-year-old girl allegedly fired the shot that killed Endia Martin, the .38-caliber revolver had touched many hands.

It began with a legal purchase, according to a lawyer for Robert James, the Hyde Park man whose .38 special revolver was at the center of events leading to Endia’s tragic death. It ended with yet another slaying of a Chicago youngster and the wounding of another teen.

James told police he bought the gun on Feb. 9, 2012, a day police Superintendent Garry McCarthy was touting a crackdown in two high-crime areas of the city. The gun, a Smith & Wesson Model 642 Airweight, was purchased from Chuck’s Gun Shop in Riverdale, a store that authorities have identified as a big seller of weapons later used in crimes in Chicago. The store has also been the target of protests by activists who say it does too little to prevent straw purchases on behalf of buyers who can’t legally buy a gun.

From 2008 through 2012, Chuck’s was responsible for one-fifth of all the guns recovered by Chicago police after they were used in crimes within a year of their purchase, according to a study by the University of Chicago Crime Lab. That number increased to 1 in 4 when looking at recovered firearms that had been bought in Cook County between January 2011 and March 2012, the study found.

 

Read full story here at Chicago Tribune.

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