KILLADELPHIA: Task Forces Sweeps Up 17 Straw Purchasers

The father of Twanita Johnson’s baby needed a gun, but he can’t buy one because he’s a convict. So Johnson, 21, who had no criminal record, went to a Bucks County gun shop and bought him agundisassembled.jpg Smith & Wesson .40-caliber pistol, according to law enforcement officials.This morning, the recently formed Gun Violence Task Force announced that arrest warrants had been obtained for Johnson and 16 others accused of making illegal “straw” purchases.

The task force, a joint effort of city District Attorney Lynne Abraham and state Attorney General Tom Corbett, has opened more than 70 investigations since being launched with a $5 million state grant last year.

At a news conference at the 18th Police District headquarters in West Philadelphia, Abraham called the task force “action-packed” and said she believed that its effort to get illegal guns off the streets “absolutely” would “put a dent in the murder rate.” She also took the opportunity to again accuse Mayor Street of not doing enough to stem the surge in the city’s deadly violence, which has claimed 108 lives so far this year.

INQUIRER: Book ‘Em, Danno

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