Convicted felons caught on camera selling guns on the streets of Jacksonville – WJXT Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. –

“Firearms are disturbingly easy to come by on the streets of Jacksonville,” said Assistant State Attorney Rich Mantei, who runs the special prosecution unit of the State Attorney’s Office.

Mantei said investigators with his office have bought handguns, AR-15 assault rifles, AK-47s, even sawed-off shotguns from convicted felons, who he says have no business carrying, let alone selling firearms.

“We buy from people who are convicted felons,” said Mantei about the focus of their undercover investigations. Under state law, a convicted felon cannot own a firearm. Many of the guns involved in undercover sales will likely to be used to commit violent crimes.

These guns are hard to trace since when they are bought on the street there is no record of the sale, which means there is no way to track who may have used it, if it becomes evidence in a crime.

“When people who can’t lawfully get guns or want to use one for some crime, they go out on the street and buy one illegally,” Mantei said.

Investigators said most guns sold illegally are stolen from legitimate gun owners.

“Lots of them are stolen from homes and cars,” said Mantei. “We will find guns that were reported stolen 8, 10 years ago, that were stolen in another part of the country and made their way here.”

Undercover investigators have paid between $25 to a couple hundred dollars for the guns bought on the street, depending on its condition and the type of gun.

“We have purchased these guns and found them available in all areas of the city. There’s no one that has any monopoly that has people selling them illegally,” said Mantei.

Most of the undercover gun sales happen out in the public.

“We try to make sure they occur in a controlled environment, behind shopping centers always in …read more

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