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San Francisco police and federal authorities confiscate handguns

By Brent Begin, Bay City News Service

October 2, 2006

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - San Francisco police have tracked down almost 20 handguns bought in Arizona and distributed illegally in the Bay Area and federal authorities today said it's only the beginning.

According to U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan, the recovery begins to answer questions that have been on everybody's minds, like where are the guns coming from and how are they ending up on the streets.

"It's important that we run to the ground, not only the guns, but the people responsible for bringing them into the community," Ryan said today in front of a San Francisco map with handgun decals representing the neighborhoods where the guns where confiscated -- the Bayview District accounted for the most, with six stickers.

According to federal prosecutors, Philip Fonsworth-McCorvey is to blame for bringing the guns across state lines. McCorvey, a man in his late 20s who once lived in San Francisco, is suspected of purchasing the handguns in several shops in the Phoenix area.

Each gun dealer registered McCorvey's purchases with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. When several of those serial numbers began showing up in San Francisco, the Police Department got involved and began documenting the finds.

Of the total 58 guns allegedly purchased legally by McCorvey, 20 have been recovered. All but two of those were found in and around San Francisco in a variety of ways, from home searches to parolee checks. Police recovered at least one handgun in Oakland and one in San Mateo.

According to San Francisco police Deputy Chief Morris Tabak, several of the guns were used in shootings and homicides, and although he didn't specify which killings, he did say that most of the guns at some point moved through the Glenridge apartment complex on Addison Street.

Once the guns made it to San Francisco, they were distributed illegally among gang members and other violent criminals.

The process is known as straw purchasing, according to Ryan, and what made these guns even more dangerous is that they are semiautomatic and come with high-capacity ammunition clips able to carry over ten bullets at a time.

The remaining 38 firearms from this case are still believed to be on the streets, and according to Stephen Martin, special agent in charge of the ATF's San Francisco division, this case is only one of many involving illegal gun distribution.

"Individuals who move firearms from the legal to illegal market do so to arm prohibited persons like drug dealers and gang members," Martin said. "It makes victims not only out of the people being shot at, it makes victims of the communities."

McCorvey is currently out on bail in Arizona and faces up to 10 years per count of conspiracy and making false statements in connection with the acquisition of firearms.

An alleged accomplice, Andre Burr, also faces charges of illegally distributing guns.

Copyright © 2006 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.




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