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U.S. gun dealers with the most firearms traced over the past four years
"Memphis has one of the highest crime rates in the nation," he said. "We're the largest dealer in the state. So guess where all the traces go back to."
When the Memphis Commercial Appeal published the 2004 list, Guns & Ammo appeared at No. 25. A reader, Don Nolan Jr. of Hernando, Miss., wrote a letter to the newspaper, saying, "Several times I have seen Guns & Ammo employees refuse to sell to buyers . . . who even suggested the store knowingly break the law."
Ranking fifth is Arrowhead Pawn & Gun Shop, in a strip mall in Jonesboro, Ga., with about 1,720 traces. The manager of the store said Arrowhead's owner, Samuel Schwartz, was in the Caribbean and could not be reached.
Arrowhead was the top out-of-state source of weapons seized by the police last year in New York City, according to a story in the New York Daily News.
Arrowhead appeared at No. 20 on the 2004 list.
Badger Guns in Milwaukee is sixth, with about 1,700 traces. On the 2004 list, the store, then known as Badger Outdoors, ranked No. 3 with 1,906 traces.
In 2006, ATF investigators recommended revoking the license of Badger Outdoors, according to an investigation by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The Sentinel's investigation revealed that the license recommended for revocation was relinquished voluntarily. A new license was issued to Adam Allan, the son of former owner Walter Allan, and the business continued as Badger Guns. Adam Allan declined to comment on the lawsuit or the traces for this story.
This fall, attorneys for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence filed two lawsuits against Badger on behalf of four Milwaukee police officers who were wounded with guns purchased at the West Milwaukee store. The complaints allege that Badger negligently and unlawfully sold firearms to people who were prohibited from buying guns and who then shot the officers.
The lawsuits alleged that Badger has accounted for two-thirds of all guns recovered by police in Milwaukee. Badger did not respond to requests for comment and has not yet responded to the lawsuit.
"We need to send a powerful message to gun dealers like Badger Guns that they will be held accountable when they knowingly funnel guns into the criminal market," said Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Center.
Seventh on the list is Trader Sports of San Leandro, Calif., with about 1,605 traces. The store was forced by the ATF to close several years ago after years of violations. Trader appealed to federal court and lost. Though the store no longer sells guns, it appears on the list because its guns are still in circulation.