The Mayors Against Illegal Guns organization published results from the first ever investigation of the criminal online gun market recently.
Looking at Armslist.com, often referred to as the “Craigslist for guns,” the organization determined that 1 in every 30 guns sold on the site is purchased by someone who would fail a criminal background check. The report estimates that 25,000 guns per year are illegally sold to criminals online.
“Today, we announced the first-ever national investigation into illegal online gun buyers, and the results are startling,” New York City Mayor Bloomberg said in a press release. “In the digital age, convicted felons, domestic abusers, and other dangerous people who are legally barred from buying guns can do so online with little more than a phone number or email address. As our investigation shows, thousands of criminals and other prohibited purchasers are doing just that. It’s time for Washington to take immediate and critical steps – and get serious about this issue.”
“Websites like Armslist.com have become the go-to place for criminals to easily buy illegal guns,” said Chief Policy Advisor Feinblatt. “Unfortunately, these online transactions all too often allow guns to fall into the wrong hands – and more innocent Americans are tragically shot and killed as a result. As mayors nationwide continue the fight to reduce the scourge of gun violence and keep our communities safe, this investigation underscores the urgent need for Congress to take action to close deadly loopholes in our laws that provide dangerous individuals with easy access to guns.”
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The online sales exploit a loophole in background check laws. If a seller wants to sell a gun to a buyer living in the same state, no background check is required.
Here is what the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives says about private in-state sales:
“A person may sell a firearm to an unlicensed resident of his State, if he does not know or have reasonable cause to believe the person is prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms under Federal law.”