In the summer of 2020, Philadelphia police began to notice that they were increasingly recovering weapons shown to be purchased by a group of people in Georgia, reports NPR. By December of that year, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had linked almost 300 guns to a group of Atlanta-based middlemen and women, who now stand accused of making "straw purchases" in federal court. A grand jury indictment in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania alleges that Fredrick Norman, an Atlanta hip hop artist also known as Slowkey Fred, recruited four other people to help him purchase firearms from federally licensed firearm dealers in Georgia. Norman bought 146 guns between May and November of 2020; Brianna Walker purchased at least 40 firearms from June through November; Stephen Norman purchased 13 firearms from September to October; and Charles O'Bannon, bought 61 firearms between August and November.
Collectively, these weapons were sold for around $116,000 to a half dozen buyers who transported the guns to Philadelphia and resold them, often to convicted felons. The guns started showing up at crime scenes in Philadelphia within days or weeks of their initial purchases at gun stores in Atlanta. On Monday, U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams, said her office has vowed to "do all we could to stop the violence ravaging our city and support the Philadelphia Police Department in its work." Philadelphia saw record-high gun violence in 2021 which is being outpaced this year. So far, there have been 127 homicides in the city.