Philadelphia Gun Store Owner Pleads Guilty to Facilitating ''Straw'' Purchases

Pat Loeb - KYW1060 - 09/28/2009

(James Colosimo, accompanied by his wife, leaves the federal courthouse in Philadelphia on Monday.)

A controversial Philadelphia gun store owner has pleaded guilty in federal court to charges that the store allowed so-called "straw" purchases -- that is, selling guns through an intermediary that would end up in the hands of felons, who are prohibited from owning them.

Colosimo's gun store, in the 900 block of Spring Garden Street, has been the target of protests for years. On Monday its owner, James Colosimo, admitted in federal court that something illegal was going on in the store: straw purchases.

Assistant US attorney Tomika Stevens says the charges concerned three separate purchasers who bought a total of ten guns for other people: "The first individual purchased four firearms, the second individual puchased five firearms on four different occasions, and the final person purchased a single firearm."

Prosecutors described several occasions on which Colosimo's sold guns, including .38 specials and nine-millimeter pistols, to someone who clearly did not intend to keep the gun.

In some cases, authorities say, a customer told the store clerk had brought someone else along to be the buyer of record because he was prohibited from buying the gun himself.

Colosimo had no comment after his plea, but he stressed in court that he did not personally sell the guns and would not have.

However, as a result of the investigation, he is closing his store. Officials say his license to sell guns has been permanently revoked and he is selling his inventory to other dealers.

(Photo by KYW's Pat Loeb)

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