Shots are fired, a sequence of three hits, hits, hits.
If you don’t know or don’t know what this place is and how this place earns, there will be plenty of reasons to run down the stairs – this is the second floor – or try to hide behind the bar. like in western cinema halls when everything gets dirty.
This cinematic association arises, perhaps, because on the way, during a break at the bar for a drink – the midday heat is in full swing – a patron walks in without saying hello and asks for “one shot”, a word that is also used for a drink, what shot. The waiter also does not open his mouth and serves a shot (tequila), which the visitor swallows in one gulp. He leaves a few dollars and walks off like Lee Marvin from The Legend of the Nameless City.
But this city does have a name: Philadelphia, one of the important enclaves at the founding of the United States, with history tourism and one of the hardest hit by gun violence.
Boom Boom. Two more shots.
The Firing Line Inc armory is located in the southern part of the Pennsylvania metropolitan area, on an avenue with a flyover in the center (Interstate 95), on both sides of which there are logistics warehouses. The store is said to be such a ‘picturesque’ place that it’s featured in M. Night Shyamalan’s new film (scheduled for a February 2023 release).
“Weapons and accessories,” announces a sign on the facade of a building with an industrial aesthetic, nondescript. “In the shooting range,” the statement explains, featuring a pair of pistols, one on each side, also reminiscent of the far west era.
It is accessed through the parking door. The gray carpet covering the stairs was worn out. Manufacturers’ badges – dominated by Smith & Wesson, which considers itself the nation’s premier firearms manufacturer – one of them, handwritten, encourages the use of a mask.
As they walk through the door, the owner, Gregory Isabella, says there’s no need for a mask. He’s behind the counter, next to the cash register, surrounded by papers and rifles. There are only two other people who eat sitting at the table, similar to employees.
The friendly gesture on Isabella’s face suddenly disappears when the visitor identifies himself as a journalist.
“Every gun on the streets starts somewhere and most of them come from the legal market”
– Reporters are not welcome here.
– May I explain?
– Journalists are not allowed to enter.
– I have not seen a single sign with such a ban.
– I told you that you do not have permission to enter, or you leave, or I will call the police.
If the looks were bullets, there would already be a corpse here.
There is no way to ask a question. Line of fire is part of the deprecated list. It is one of half a dozen armories in the south and northeast of this metropolitan area that have been linked to more than 12,000 crimes from 2014 to 2020 based on a study of weapons found or confiscated by security forces.
According to the law, its holders were made with these deadly gadgets illegally, in many cases using “straw men” without the dealers authorized to sell them sounding the alarm or simply looking the other way.
Here’s how it’s put together in a report recently released by the Brady Gun Control Group, which has done work tracking down traces of these weapons in Pennsylvania. Considered to be the most in-depth analysis of confidential records to date, the paper offers a rare glimpse into the link between merchants and subsequent criminal activity.
“Every weapon on our streets starts somewhere, and the vast majority of them come from the legal market,” the report says. “Understanding how these weapons, especially those diverted from legal trade to the underground market, end up in crime scenes is essential to developing evidence-based and life-saving solutions to the American gun violence epidemic. he emphasizes.
The Brady report denounces that many sales are made to front men with the tolerance of a gunsmith.
This group established this correspondence thanks to data released by Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania’s Attorney General, who published a track record of 186,000 gun crimes compiled by 150 state police and agencies.
Traders not identified. However, the Brady team has dedicated itself to matching these references to public records and phone numbers. This allowed him to identify suppliers with crimes attributed to weapons that ended up in illegal business.
The study highlights that the vast majority of establishments in Pennsylvania, about 86%, do not have criminally found weapons. It is shown that only 5% of sellers transferred 90% of crime-related weapons, and that of these, 1.2% of sellers are involved in 57% of firearm crimes.
Weapons are the most popular item among human traffickers due to their small size and stowability. Among those found, the most “typical” are the Smith & Wesson 9mm stamps. Glock and Taurus follow.
Before visiting the Line of Fire, to which 1,286 trails are attributed in the report, the route begins on the northwest side of Philadelphia, at Delia’s gun shop on Torresdale Avenue. which is linked to 1653 tracks, third in the classification of sites that are still open. Between 2019 and 2020, three men bought and resold 37 weapons, three from Delia.
An employee serves customers. It’s calm there. Nayara, who identifies herself this way, explains that she is not allowed to release information and that only Justin, the owner, can speak to the press. He’s always at the bottom of the canyon, never better, but today, by chance, he won’t come.
“Call the phone tomorrow” and Nayara hands over a card with an official number.
(Tomorrow is Friday and the coincidences continue. Justin is also said to be missing and not expected until Monday).
The store is at street level. The store window on both sides of the door is protected by bars. “We buy used guns,” a red and white sign indicates. “9mm ammo. in stock, unlimited”, on another sign.
On the way to South Philadelphia, as the neighbors call it, one can’t help but think of the city center, where thousands of visitors stroll through the monumental Philadelphia, and residents are worried about the growing number of murders and shootings.
For the first time, a link has been established between the “tainted” weapon and the institution from which it came.
After the first stop at Gregory Isabella’s arsenal, the treatment at Philadelphia Training Academy Inc, which has been the leader in crime trails since 2356, is more pleasant, although with the same result.
This is a brick building. The store is on the first floor and there are two orders to access. “The use of mobile phones is prohibited,” reads one of them. “All weapons must be unloaded before entering,” reads another. Once inside, more orders. “Ammunition is not returned or exchanged.” Employees wear pistols on their belts. They serve with kindness. “Only James can talk,” one of them says. James, the master, is Jimmy Mastroddy, who, in statements to The Philadelphia Enquirer, disqualified Brady’s report for “unfair numbers.” Coincidentally, today comes later than other days.
You have to wait (in vain, because it will not appear) on the street. Looking at the armory from the sidewalk and thinking about the criminal footprints attributed to the business, with customers entering and exiting in processions armed for battle, shocking scenes can be seen under these circumstances. Next door is El Pueblo, the meat market. On the front door is a written request: “In case of fire, please save the cat.”
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