NEW YORK --- New York City's notoriously anti-gun mayor Mike Bloomberg set up a sting operation at gun shows that revealed just how easy it is to get around loopholes and buy a weapon.
Over a four-month period, the mayor sent undercover investigators to gun shows in Tennessee, Ohio and Nevada. They targeted licensed dealers, and the less-regulated "private dealers" who sell at shows.
These private dealers are unlicensed and don't have to do background checks. But still, they don't have to sell guns to anyone if they think there could be a problem. As part of the operation, the undercover agents were close to purchasing guns, but they said something like "You don't do background checks, right?" When the dealers confirmed that, the agents would say "Good, because I don't think I would pass it." The dealers sold the gun to the agents anyway.
As far as the licensed dealers, they do have to conduct background checks. So the agents would do what is called a "straw purchase." When one agent got close to a purchase, he would then call over a second agent, who would then fill out the background form in his name. Mayoral aides told the New York Daily News just one dealer refused to make the sale when the second agent entered the picture.
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Bloomberg, who is running for mayoral re-election for a controversial third term, has long been an advocate of closing the gun show loopholes and strengthening gun laws. He set up a similar sting operation in 2006 involving gun shops.
This operation cost $1.5 million.