More than 600 guns taken off of Chattanooga’s streets this year

CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee(WDEF) – Recent shootings in Chattanooga by suspected gang members have prompted the question of how gang members are getting guns.

Almost everyday, someone in Chattanooga is arrested for illegal possession of a firearm because they’re convicted felons.

In recent days, the illegal use of firearms sent three people to the hospital.

According to Chattanooga police, more than 640 illegal firearms were taken off the streets between January and November of this year. Most of those weapons were used to injure and in some cases kill.

"The vast majority of our shootings and violence occurs with guns that are illicitly obtained through burglaries and through inappropriate sales," said Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher.

"By getting these weapons off the street, we’re creating a safer environment for Chattanooga. That’s really important as we build a safer city," Said Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke.

Many of the illegal weapons used on the streets are handguns. But during a recent shooting on Hawthorne Street, witnesses saw and heard something a little more powerful.

"I saw a a guy with an AK-47running across the sidewalk," said Timothy Newsome who’s home was hit by a stray bullet.

According to Trentyn Murrell of Shooter’s Depot, an AK-47 assault rifle is a lot easier to see on the streets thanks to non-reputable gun dealers who are more interested in making money but don’t conduct background checks.

Murrell said some people do what’s called a straw sale.

"Basically that is when an individual comes in, who can legally purchase a firearm and can pass a background, buys the gun for someone else."

That someone else is usually a person who can’t pass a background check because of a felony conviction.

Shooter’s Depot conduct background checks on every gun buyer. The store also does background checks on guns that people bring into the store to sell.

Categories: Crime, Local News