On Thursday, a judge ruled in favor of a gun store located in northwestern Indiana, dismissing a lawsuit launched by the city of Chicago. The city had accused Westforth Sports Inc. of Gary of selling hundreds of firearms via straw purchases, which were then allegedly found in the possession of convicted criminals or at crime scenes within Chicago.
The lawsuit, filed against Westforth Sports Inc. and its owner Earl Westforth in April 2021, claimed repeated violations of federal gun regulations. The store was said to have ignored alerts from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives about questionable transactions.
Straw purchases are characterized as sales where a firearm is ostensibly bought for personal use, but in reality, the weapon is acquired for someone else.
Westforth Sports’ lawyers called for the dismissal of the case, pointing out that the transactions in question occurred between Westforth and Indiana residents, as reported by the Chicago Tribune.
Following the lawsuit’s dismissal, Timothy Rudd, an attorney for Westforth, stated that the court’s decision upheld the constitutional due process by acknowledging that a firearms retailer located outside of Illinois could not be subjected to court proceedings in the state unless the allegations stemmed directly from the retailer’s own activities within the state.
Meanwhile, Alla Lefkowitz, a lawyer for the city of Chicago, mentioned that the city authorities were yet to fully review the decision. However, she assured that they are determined to continue their legal pursuit against Westforth.
A 2017 report from the Chicago police department indicated that Westforth Sports was the third-largest source of firearms used in crimes within the city. Between 2013 and 2016, the report stated that 2.3% of all guns retrieved from crime scenes in Chicago had originated from Westforth.