"Chicago took 1st shot: '98 gun sting like [Bloomberg], but misfired in courtroom"
In a 1998 probe dubbed Operation Gunsmoke, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley had undercover cops posing as gang members go into area gun stores.
Grainy video shot by investigators seemed to show gun merchants gladly allowing straw purchases - the practice of legally authorized citizens buying guns for others.
The sting was a public relations success, with footage shown on "60 Minutes" and elsewhere. But the operation had less success in court, where it was used in a civil case and several criminal prosecutions.
"It failed because they were unable to show the dealers willfully did anything wrong," said John Lott, a former University of Chicago law professor and the author of controversial books "More Guns, Less Crime" and "The Bias Against Guns." . . .
There was one conviction, but that was a plea bargain where the company agreed to go out of business but they were going out of business anyway and they agreed to this just to save legal costs.