Federal documents give a rare look at how shadowy gun deals flourish between private owners and over the internet, how easy and lucrative they are. A man whose gun ended up being used to kill a Chicago police commander pleaded guilty to a federal charge.
Thomas Caldwell once told a federal agent that selling guns was an addiction. Even after being told to stop because he had no license, the Wisconsin man kept peddling firearms, posting more than 200 ads on a controversial website, reports the Chicago Tribune. One of those guns, a Glock 26 9 mm handgun, ended up in the hands of a four-time felon who used it in February to kill Chicago police Commander Paul Bauer in a shocking daylight shooting. Federal documents give a rare look at how shadowy gun deals flourish between private owners and over the internet, how easy and lucrative they are. “I’m not surprised that gun changed hands and came from out of state,” said former Chicago police First Deputy Superintendent John Escalante, Bauer’s childhood friend. “I think they (gun sellers) don’t want to think about that. They are seeing the bottom line, which is money in their hands. If that gun winds up being used to shoot someone, they’re thinking, ‘Well, I didn’t shoot the guy. I didn’t pull the trigger.’ ”
The open and unregulated market that carried the gun into Chicago has come into sharper focus as federal charges have been filed against Caldwell. After Bauer’s death, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives traced the Baby Glock to a man who bought it from the gun shop in December 2011. From there, the investigation led federal agents to Caldwell. Caldwell would buy only one gun at a time from a licensed dealer, every six days, to get around a federal requirement that the dealer report the purchase of two or more firearms by the same buyer within a five-day period. Last month, Caldwell pleaded guilty to a federal charge of selling firearms without a license.