Online Gun Sales Arming Criminals

A new study found that one out of every thirty offers to buy a gun is from someone with a criminal background

New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, and his group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, has released a report finding that one in thirty shoppers on popular private gun sales websites had criminal records. Some types of criminal records prohibit these shoppers from purchasing firearms. During a City Hall press conference Bloomberg said, “If one in thirty people on a Boeing 747 were on a terrorist watch list, that plane would have 22 suspected terrorists on it — something that no airline would tolerate, and something Washington shouldn’t tolerate either.” He restated his call for background checks on private sales of guns at gun shows or Internet websites.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns titled their study, “Felon Seeks Firearm: No Strings Attached.” The study involved the popular private sale-listing site and ads placed by people looking to purchase guns. Researchers used the freely posted email addresses, names and phone numbers placed on the ads to run criminal background checks on the individuals. One in thirty people who listed the public information had criminal histories that barred them from owning guns and this did not include “for sale” ads or anonymous listings. “Think how many criminals are answering want-to-sell ads, which they can do with complete anonymity,” Bloomberg said.

The criminal records included robberies with dangerous weapons, illegal possession of guns, protection order violations and domestic assault, said John Feinblatt of Mayors Against Illegal Guns. “One man in Louisiana who promised in his ad ‘cash in hand,’ had been charged with aggravated assault with a firearm one month earlier and illegally carrying a weapon just two days before his posting,” Feinblatt said. “One month after his posting he received a third charge, this time for domestic abuse.” There is no way to tell if some of these sales went through, but they would not do it if it did not work, Bloomberg said.


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