PHILADELPHIA, P.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- Four Philadelphia men face charges for buying Polymer80 kits to assemble and sell completed guns in the city allegedly.
On Tuesday, Police arrested Malachi Matthews, 46, Kenneth Manni, 41, and Montague Coker, 40, on charges of selling completed unserialized guns. Police then arrested Najaye Davis, 19, in a separate case on Friday. Prosecutors allege that Davis was selling the completed firearms for $500 to other residents of the city.
The four-arrest materialized from a surveillance operation last month at the Morgantown Gun Show in Berks County. What tip off investigators at the gun show was the number of kits that Davis purchased using cash on Feb 27. The prosecutors did not give out hard numbers on the amount of money and the number of kits that the men purchased.
When police raided Davis’s house, they seized three completed firearms made from kits, one uncompleted kit, and various gun parts used to complete the kits. Law enforcement also took 1,000 rounds of ammunition and multiple magazines. They also recovered $8600 in cash.
When police executed the search warrant on Matthews, Manni, and Coker, two of the three men attempted to escape by climbing on the building’s roof. Manni did not attempt to flee from the police. Police officers apprehended Matthews and Coker as they tried to evade police. Coker and Matthews are prohibited from owning firearms due to previous felony convictions. Prosecutors charged the men with violating the Uniform Firearms Act.
In addition to the firearms charges, police also busted Manni for possession of fentanyl. Fentanyl is a highly addictive control substance that has led to the deaths of thousands of Americans. Most experts agree that fentanyl is a more significant threat to society than unfinished frames.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro has made unfinished receivers and frames one of his primary targets during his term in the Keystone State. Shapiro is known to be an anti-gun crusader and uses buzz words created by anti-gun groups.
“Ghost guns are fueling the gun violence epidemic that takes the lives of Pennsylvanians every single day,” Shapiro said in a statement. “Once these DIY homemade gun kits are in the wrong hands, in mere hours, they become untraceable, fully operational firearms causing so much senseless violence.
It isn’t clear how many people the AG anti-gun task force tracked and investigated for buying unfinished frames from gun shows. One dealer speaking off the record said that the AG office takes pictures and videos of anyone buying an unfinished frame and follows the buyers out into the parking lot to take photos of their license plates.
The vast majority of people buying kits at gun shows are law-abiding citizens, yet the state is acting as big brother and monitoring their purchases. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) does not consider unfinished frames to be firearms. It isn’t clear what authority that the AG’s office has to monitor the everyday purchases of Pennsylvanian citizens.
Also, it isn’t clear as to what the AG’s office does with this information. Some gun rights advocates worry that the AG’s office is making a database of citizens buying from these dealers and making a de facto gun registry.
Law enforcement surveillance operations at gun shows seem to be mostly centered around the eastern part of the state, although the AG’s officer could expand the operation to Western Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office did not return AmmoLand New’s call about how many law-abiding citizens were subject to investigations.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.