Pa. attorney general targets straw purchases, gun violence in Philly

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announces the formation of a federal, state and local task force to reduce gun violence.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announces the formation of a federal, state and local task force to reduce gun violence. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

An enhanced effort is underway to end straw purchases of guns and curtail gun violence in Philadelphia.

More cooperation from Pennsylvania and the U.S. — including teams of city, state, and federal officials — will help end the resale of legally obtained guns to criminals, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro said Wednesday.

“Enhanced information sharing and collaboration is critical to effective law enforcement operations, particularly when it comes to targeting illegal guns that result in so much violence in our city,” he said during a news conference with Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner.

Many don’t know that, if a gun is used in a crime, the person who buys the gun is a co-conspirator, Krasner said.

“Do not let your friends and your family talk you into this,” he said. “It is a disaster for you, and it’s a disaster for our community.”

State officials are ramping up investigations into illegal gun sales, Shapiro said.

“In 2018 alone, the Gun Violence Task Force has recovered over 80 guns, made 75 arrests, and opened 328 investigations,” he said.

The task force has a conviction rate of 78 percent, he said.

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