PHILADELPHIA - July 31 - The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) announced that notorious gun dealer Lou's Loans of Upper Darby, Pa., today lost its federal license to sell guns. If legislation the gun lobby has been advancing in the U.S. Congress in Washington D.C. had already passed, Lou's would still be open for business.
The shop has been one of the leading suppliers of crime guns in America: Law enforcement traced 441 crime guns to Lou's from 1996 to 2000 alone, ranking it 44th out of nearly 80,000 gun dealers nationwide in total crime guns traced to their stores.
The revocation of Lou's license came after an investigation by ATF in which ATF found at least 239 violations of federal law, including at least five instances of selling firearms to illegal straw purchasers, at least three instances of selling to prohibited purchasers, and at least five instances of selling multiple guns to one purchaser, without giving the legally- required notice of the suspicious sales to ATF and local law enforcement.
Congress is currently considering legislation, H.R. 5092, as part of the "American Values Agenda" announced by House Republican leaders, which would hamstring ATF efforts to revoke the licenses of corrupt gun dealers and allow shops with revoked licenses to continue selling guns through years of legal appeals.
"The gun lobby and its friends in Congress like to talk tough on crime fighting, but they have scaled the heights of hypocrisy with legislation to protect rogue gun dealers like Lou's Loans," said Elizabeth S. Haile, staff attorney at the Brady Center. "If the NRA's bill were the law today, Lou's would be open for business for years to come."
Lou's Loans is also a defendant in a suit brought by the Brady Center's Legal Action Project for the family of slain 14 year-old Anthony Oliver, Jr. (Oliver v. Lou's Loans, et al, No. 1836, Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County). The suit charges that Lou's Loan negligently sold multiple handguns to a gun trafficker just seven months before one of them was used to shoot Anthony.
Anthony's death in July 2004 and the filing of the suit in July 2005 garnered significant media attention in the Philadelphia area and were followed by ATF's investigation of Lou's Loans.