Feds: Colosimo's gun shop knowingly sold to straw purchasers

Controversy is once again visiting Colosimo's gun dealership.

The shop, which was the target of religious protesters earlier this year, was accused yesterday by U.S. Attorney Michael Levy of knowingly selling guns to straw purchasers.

Federal investigators determined that the gun shop, on Spring Garden Street near 9th, had sold a total of 10 firearms to three straw purchasers between Aug. 4, 2004, and April 18, 2007, according to court documents.

The feds say Colosimo's identified straw purchasers as the actual buyers in transaction records, even though the shop "knew or had reason to believe that each was not the actual buyer, but a straw purchaser," documents show.

Levy charged Colosimo's Inc. with making false statements and failing to properly maintain firearms transaction records.

The shop's owner, James Colosimo, 77, isn't named in the court documents, but the feds noted the charges can bring a five-year probation sentence and $200,000 fine.

In January, a dozen people from a clerical group called Heeding God's Call were arrested after they twice protested inside Colosimo's.

The protesters said they targeted Colosimo's because they determined that 22 percent of guns used in area crimes before 2004 had been sold by his shop.

Colosimo told a Daily News columnist in January that he hadn't done anything wrong. The percentage was high, he said, because he had sold hundreds of thousands of weapons during his 57 years in business.

A municipal judge later dismissed charges of disorderly conduct, defiant trespass and related offenses against all of the protesters.

After the ruling, Colosimo fumed: "They're not guilty? They broke the law."