MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — A 23-year-old Glenside man is charged with dozens of felonies, facing possibly decades in prison, accused of buying and illegally selling 15 guns. Four of them have been recovered at crime scenes, including a triple homicide in Philadelphia.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele says Tamir Hartsock started buying and illegally selling guns less than a month after he turned 21 in 2020. They say he continued through December 2022, including a four-month period during which he bought seven guns.
“Gun traffickers like Hartsock are enabling violence and murder,” Steele said.
“These firearms were sold by Heartsock to some very violent criminals, including what we know now as murderers.”
Steele says, of the four guns recovered, two are connected with homicides and other gun violence in Philadelphia. One of the related crimes was a triple homicide in April on Palmetto Street. Another gun is connected to two homicides: one on Germantown Avenue in August, 2021; another in May 2022 on Erie Avenue.
“There's 11 firearms that are still in the wind. We don't know where they are. We don't know what kind of violence or crimes they've been used in. And we don't know what crimes they will be used in,” he said.
“By the time we get to sentencing on this case, how many other people are going to die?”
Steele says they use the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network, or NIBIN database, to connect guns recovered from crimes to straw-purchasers.
Under the Brad Fox Law, named for a Plymouth Township police officer who was killed by an illegally purchased gun, repeat straw-purchasers face a five-year minimum in prison sentence for each illegally purchased gun.
“How much did he make? A couple $100 off of each of these purchases, and putting them out there? A five-year mandatory may be just a small part of what an individual like this is going to receive down the line, and is it worth it?” Steele said.
“Anybody who is out there and thinks about buying a gun for somebody else and puts it out on the street — the message is: It's not worth it.”