Philadelphia Daily News from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 18, 1993 · Page 5
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Philadelphia Daily News from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania · Page 5

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Issue Date:
Thursday, November 18, 1993
Page 5
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THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 1993 THE PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS PAGE 5 1 soli Lf Selling guns legally involves some red tape Here's what you need to sell guns in Philadelphia: LICENSES and APPROVALS A Federal Firearms License, administered by the Department of Treasury's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The three-year license is the key means of regulating retail commerce of all weapons. A Pennsylvania Common-; wealth License to Sell Firearms, administered in Philadelphia by the city Department of Licenses and Inspections. The one-year license establishes additional procedures for dealers, including those involving the reporting of firearm sales. The license is issued with approval of the police commissioner. Zoning approval. Under city regulations, firearms dealers must either be zoned for retail sales or obtain a zoning variance. A Philadelphia Business Privilege License, administered by L&I. SALES PAPERWORK ATF Form 4473, completed by the purchaser and the dealer and kept in the gun store. The form identifies purchaser and weapon. A bound book of Acquisitions and Dispositions. The book, required by the ATF, is used to track every weapon that goes through the store. Both the book and Form 4473 are kept in the store for inspection by law enforcement authorities. A state Application for Purchase of Firearms, completed Continued from Preceding Page explained his shop wasn't really open to the public, yet. Then, Ait-ken said, Budd scanned an invoice sheet listing dozens of weapons, found the handgun in question and suddenly recalled that he'd sold it to a relative. "But he gave me two different names for the guy," the detective said. The owner had no record of sale, none of the forms that would indicate his relative had undergone a state-required criminal background check. "He couldn't produce any paperwork," Aitken said. "But he had a Federal Firearms License. He proudly showed it to me." In the next months, police would discover that Budd had legally purchased at least 1,600 guns from a single distributor, then sold most of them without filing any of the required records of sale used for criminal background checks by police. There was no sign of the so-called Acquisition and Disposition book that lists the buyer of every firearm DLTug in quadruplicate by the dealer and purchaser. The form includes buyer's name, age, address, occupation, race, place of birth, weapon information and a statement that he has never been convicted of a crime of violence. In Pennsylvania, dealers are prohibited from selling guns to people under 18, people who have been convicted of violent crimes, drug addicts or habitual drunkards, or people of "unsound mind." This form is filed with the city, which conducts a criminal background check to determine if the individual has ever been convicted of a felony. In Philadelphia, handgun purchasers must wait five days for this check; there is no waiting period for shotguns and rifles. If police do not reject the purchase, the buyer may pick up the gun. The form is also filed with the state police, but because of time constraints they do not conduct a criminal background check at this stage. A Record of Sale of Firearms, completed in triplicate by the dealer and signed by the purchaser. After the purchaser picks up the weapon, the dealer must file the report with the state police. If they determine the purchaser is a felon, the local district attorney's office is notified for follow-up. At the very least, local authorities will attempt to retrieve the gun from the felon. sold by gun shops. Police believe he sold these guns and possibly many others off the books for at least 18 months, his shady business virtually unnoticed partly because of loopholes in gun regulations and archaic record-keeping by local and federal agencies. No one suspected the federally licensed dealer was illegally distributing so many guns until the victims started piling up. More than a quarter-million Americans hold a Type 1 Federal Firearms License issued by the VS. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, allowing them to deal weapons just like any gun shop. Though the license enables holders to sell the most lethal consumer product in the world, the ATF doesn't interview the applicants' neighbors, doesn't check their background with local police, doesn't test their qualifications. It asks applicants for nei-ther photographs nor fingerprints, nor .any identifica tion other than a Social Security number. As long as you're at least 21 and you're not a criminal or have not been committed to a mental institution, you are eligible to obtain an FFL. And, apparently, you don't even have to be a human being. Three years ago, investigators discovered the ATF had licensed a dog named Fifi. In 1992, a nationwide study by the Violence Policy Center in Washington, D.C., proclaimed there were more gun dealers than gas stations. In Philadelphia, there are more - gas stations than dealers. But the city's 182 federally licensed dealers do outnumber all McDonald's, Roy Rogers, Burger King and Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets combined. Though the license allows these dealers to sell anything from a .22 rifle to a semi-automatic assault gun, city officials say they are unaware of most of them. The ATF's Price said the bureau shares its list of FFLs with local authorities. According to city officials, however, neither the Police Department nor the Department of Licenses and Inspections maintains a full list of FFLs. Instead, city agencies are aware of only those dealers mostly shops open to the public who have obtained a separate Pennsylvania license. The state license is designed to give local municipalities control over where gun shops may operate. In Philadelphia, retail gun shops must meet zoning regulations that restrict operations to commercial districts, city officials said. In Philadelphia, just 19 dealers about 10 percent of the city's FFLs hold these state licenses. Who are the other 90 percent? Most are so-called "kitchen table" dealers a term used to describe those who use their FFLs to buy and sell guns from their own homes. A Daily News survey of nearly all the city's FFLs determined that 79 percent of the city's gun dealers are licensed out of private homes in residential neighborhoods. They are situated on quiet streets in the Northeast, on trash-filled blocks with abandoned houses in Kensington, in tidy rowhouses in Center City and across the street from parks where kids play. The ATF now warns new applicants they must follow local zoning and licensing regulations established to protect public safety a measure that ATF spokesman Jack Killorin said often leads See LOOPHOLES Page 20 MORE INSIDE Felons benefitting: Page 20 Dealers 'not to blame': Page 20 Licensed cops: Page 21 Ust of licencees: Page 22 Senate gun ban: Page 25 innis HAHR 75Jo cj?roa v 1-5 ! 1 RX Sporting Goods - Family Dental Care - 7500 block of Castor Ave. Dr. Harris Mulnick, who runs Family Dental Care, did not return telephone calls for comment. Guns and more Firearms dealers are federally licensed to sell weapons at a variety of local business addresses. According to federal records, these dealers can sell pizza and pistols or hoagies and hollow-nose bullets. ' ' TNt i f ; j43s!i . I'M Ijlji fv ',4 li jf r XT '- V. Joseph T. Margrabia Jr. - Law firm - 1500 block of Spring Garden St. Margrabia declined to comment. A woman who answered the phone at the attorney's office said, "He doesn't take phone calls." Alan Costilo - Castor Gardens Chiropractic Center -1500 block of Magee Ave. Costilo said he recently returned his license to the ATF because he wasn't using it. He said he had planned to use the license to purchase a gun shop in the Northeast. George Hagerty .-Jr- Shefs Pizza - Sheffield Ave. Hagerty said he was just licensed about nine months ago because "my intention was to open a firearm store on a vacant lot." He said he plans to sell $10,000 guns - "no Saturday-night specials." SOURCE: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; Daily News interviews nSlnick, d.d.s 745-5757 ; BftfiAt use ; I at we no i sttie.Sl till in ill" John Carmolingo - Shunk Deli -2600 block of S. 6th St. Carmolingo said he sells guns privately: "It's not a public business." Carmolingo is the only dealer among this group who also holds a state firearms dealer license. 1 William Fels & Cosmo Dinardo - Fels Pnnting -1100 block of Cottman Ave. Did not return telephone calls for comment. IHCMIfS's;.' I " J n rpr. : J f i PAItY NfcWS GRAPHIC

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