CHICAGO, IL (AP) - A judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by the city of Chicago against a store in northwestern Indiana on Thursday. The city claimed that the store sold hundreds of guns through straw purchases which ended up with felons and crime scenes.
The city filed a lawsuit against Westforth Sports Inc. of Gary, in April 2021, claiming that the store violated federal firearm laws repeatedly and that the owner, Earl Westforth, ignored warnings by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives regarding suspicious purchases made at the store.
Clare Quish, the Cook County Circuit court judge, dismissed the lawsuit. Straw guns are those guns that people purport to buy for themselves but in reality purchase for others.
Westforth Sports' attorneys argued that the case should be dismissed as the city of Chicago made allegations about transactions between Westforth Sports and residents of Indiana.
Westforth's attorney Timothy Rudd stated that after the dismissal of the case, the court had 'properly determined that Constitutional Due Process does not permit an out-of state firearms retailer to have their claims brought in court in Illinois without the claims arising out of the retailer's contacts with the State.
Alla Lefkowitz said that an attorney for the city had made a statement saying that officials 'have not yet had the opportunity to review the ruling', but that they "fully intend to press forward with their case against Westforth'.
In a 2017 Chicago Police report, Westforth Sports was ranked as the third largest supplier of guns in Chicago. Westforth Sports was credited with 2,3% of the guns used in crimes recovered by Chicago police between 2013 and 2016.