PHILADELPHIA – A suburban police department resold hundreds of confiscated and surrendered firearms to gun shops, including one dealer in prison for selling weapons to felons, a newspaper reported Sunday.
Another of the shops lost its license last summer after authorities linked guns sold there to 19 homicides, including the killing of a Philadelphia police officer, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Upper Darby police stopped the resale practice after federal agents raided a shop in 2005 and traced an illegal sawed-off shotgun back to the department.
It is legal for police departments in Pennsylvania and many other states to sell confiscated firearms to federally licensed gun shops.
Michael Chitwood, who became chief of the 127-member Upper Darby force in August 2005, said he was cooperating with an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and that he had not seen guns being resold by the police department.
Previous chief Vincent J. Ficchi did not respond to requests for comment.