Mayors Against Illegal Guns report criticizes Internet gun sales

Armslist.com illegal guns
Sites like Armslist.com allow people with criminal records to buy illegal guns, a new report commissioned by Mayor Michael Bloomberg found.
Credit: Armslist.com

A single website can help people with criminal records buy more than 25,000 illegal guns this year alone, according to a report commissioned by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns, co-founded by Bloomberg, made the estimate after a four-month study of ArmsList.com, which he called “the Craigslist for national gun sales.”

“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,” Bloomberg said when the report was released last week. 

Bloomberg’s group found that one in 30 of would-be gun buyers posting on ArmsList.com committed crimes that should have prohibited them from possessing firearms.

“This investigation has just scratched the surface of the Internet’s vast illegal gun market–and if nothing is done, that market will continue to grow,” Bloomberg said.

The mayor’s chief policy adviser, John Feinblatt, who directed the report, said that it is all too easy for criminals to use the web to buy guns.

In Wisconsin last year, a man gunned down his wife and two of her coworkers, then shot himself, days after a judge issued a restraining order baring him from purchasing firearms.

The man found someone selling a .40-caliber semiautomatic Glock on ArmsList.com, according to the report.

Tragedies like that are possible because federal law doesn’t require private sellers — online or otherwise — to conduct background checks, Bloomberg said.

A request for comment from ArmsList.com was not returned, but the website asks users to follow federal and state gun laws and to report any illegal activity.

Bloomberg added that mass shootings — like the one at the Washington Navy Yard — will continue “until we get serious about this issue,” citing gridlock by Congress.

“This sort of senseless violence has tragically become all too common, it’s almost something people have come to expect,” Feinblatt added.

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter: @AnnaESanders



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Comments

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  1. This article is blatantly false and misleading. All internet ‘sales’ of a gun must go through a dealer hence a background check must be executed (form 4473). Any transfer of guns across state lines without using a dealer is a federal felony. Straw purchases account for 40% of all illegally-owned guns (as per FBI) and federal felonies for both parties. These crimes are rarely prosecuted – why? Ever heard of the Bartley-Fox law? Mandatory 1 year sentence for using a gun in the commission of a crime but again hardly ever enforced.

    In order to legally buy a gun in MA you need: a state issued permit, a training course, $100 application fee, 2 background checks, fingerprinted, 3 character references, and the state takes 2-8 months to issue the license. All guns must be securely stored, no high capacity magazines, there’s an assault weapons ban in effect in the state. The State Attorney General decides what guns can be sold by dealers and the list is very short. Only licensed owners can buy/sell guns at a ‘gun show’ and all transactions must be recorded by the state via an FA10 form (in effect a gun registry). There is no ‘gun show loophole’.

    The inflammatory rhetoric is deceiving and disingenuous. I’m not sure if the politicians are ignorant or liars but they clearly misrepresent the facts pertaining to legal gun ownership in this state. Why not enforce the existing laws instead of passing more useless legislation that will never be used in sentencing.

    These facts are easily verified, if you dare.