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Thread: Gun show sting nets felon
08-16-07, 09:49 AM #1
Gun show sting nets felon
Gun show sting nets convicted felon
Police seize gun, drugs from 19-year-old but show promoter said all his sales were legal.
In an effort to crack down on illegal firearms, police and federal agents spent the weekend conducting an undercover operation at a gun show at the Savannah Civic Center.
Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police won't talk about the operation, but police reports show it led to the arrest of a convicted felon.
Chance Lamont Datts, 19, was arrested on charges of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, carrying a concealed weapon, carrying a pistol without a permit and possession of marijuana.
Undercover agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, along with officers from SCMPD's Tactical Reaction And Prevention unit converged on the Civic Center for the two-day Eastman Gun Show. They were working in addition to uniformed patrol officers securing the show.
Saturday afternoon, the undercover officers noticed three men acting suspicious in the Civic Center parking lot, according to a police report.
Officers followed the men as they climbed into a Pontiac Grand Prix and drove off.
Officers stopped the car at Habersham and Liberty streets for having windows tinted too darkly.
That's when they spotted Datts in the backseat attempting to cover the seat pocket, the report states.
Officers interviewed Datts and learned he was on probation for a felony.
They then searched the pocket Datts was covering and found a pistol, according to the report. It is unclear if the pistol was purchased at the gun show.
Officers also found some marijuana wrapped in a $20 bill inside Datts' pocket, the report states.
Datts told officers he met his two friends at the Civic Center and attended the gun show.
Datts' two companions were questioned and released.
Anyone who buys a firearm at the gun show is required to show a picture identification card and undergo a background check.
"These are legitimate gun dealers. You got to follow the same rules that you do in a gun shop," said Matt Eastman, who runs the gun show. "People don't come to gun shows to buy guns to commit crimes."
The gun show does not check identification at the front door. Unless a convicted felon attempts to buy a gun, there is no security barring them from attending the show.
Eastman said he did not know about any police operation or arrests.
"You've been watching too much NBC. That stuff doesn't happen here," Eastman said.
Hundreds of handguns, rifles, automatic weapons and knives are sold at the Eastman shows, which are frequently held at the Civic Center.
In 1994, the city banned gun shows from the Civic Center. The city lifted the ban 11 months later after promoters sued the city of Tampa for $65,000 after officials prohibited gun shows at its civic center.
The Eastman Gun Show is scheduled to return to Savannah in October.
More guns on streets
Police say they are targeting all illegal firearms - regardless of how and where they are obtained.
Last month, SCMPD and CrimeStoppers launched a program offering cash rewards of up to $2,500 for information leading to a seizure of illegal guns. The anonymous tip program focuses on getting guns out of the hands of convicted felons and minors, police said.
The firearms initiative also is an expansion of the police department's 2007 strategy of targeting the "10 percenters" - the most violent of felons. Police attribute a large chunk of violent crime to guns being in the wrong hands.
From Jan. 1 to July 5, 2007, police seized 371 firearms - including assault rifles, handguns, rifles and sawed-off shotguns. That's up 16 percent from last year, according to Wilson.
Police also are investigating several Savannah gangs that have been linked to gun trafficking. The Waters Avenue Crew and the Paradise Park Clique have been tied to as many as 144 guns stolen in pawn shop burglaries in Savannah and in Eastman, Ga., police said.
link"When I'm driving along and I see a sign that says, CAUTION: SMALL CHILDREN AHEAD,
I slow down, and then it occurs to me, I'm not afraid of small children"!
08-18-07, 10:12 AM #2
Its nice to see that they caught the bad guy, BUT what a twist on P.R.if you just read the first half it would lead you to believe that he procured the weapon at the show.and cast a bad light on gun shows....then read the next half of the promotors response...coupled with any knowledge of how guns are bought and sold , then you can see through the mudd....http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm...ndid=197722498
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." - George Orwell
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