Citation(s) from the Gun Policy News media archive

Illegal Guns Went to Puerto Rican Gangs, Agent Says

Orlando Sentinel (Florida)

19 March 2008

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More than 200 guns bought illegally from Central Florida shops went to Puerto Rico drug gangs responsible for scores of murders in recent years, according to a federal indictment unsealed Tuesday.

Investigators predicted "Operation Tropical Firepower," as the investigation is known, will expand and link up to 800 weapons to more than a dozen suspects arrested this week and others still at large. Already, it is the region's largest gun-trafficking case in decades…

The trade exists largely because Puerto Rico has some of the strictest gun laws in the United States. On the island, for instance, gun owners must be able to account for every bullet they buy if questioned by police. At the same time, Florida laws are some of the nation's least restrictive.

Semiautomatic versions of the AK-47 assault rifle, which sell for as little as $350 in Orlando, command $2,000 on the black market in Puerto Rico, according to police and federal court records.

Investigators say the black-market buyers are typically drug gangs, whose members are responsible for some of the worst violent crimes per capita in the United States. The island commonwealth is a major port of entry for cocaine and heroin shipped from Colombia to the U.S. mainland…

Florida gun stores impose no waiting period or limit on the number of assault weapons people can buy in a single day. Handgun buyers who have a state concealed weapon permit can take home a gun purchase immediately. Those without a permit must wait three days.

There are no limits on private sales at gun shows…

ID: N409

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