Let me be clear. The Internet is a perfectly appropriate medium for legitimate commerce including legal gun sales. Even before our investigation began however -- It was evident that unscrupulous... See More
Let me be clear. The Internet is a perfectly appropriate medium for legitimate commerce including legal gun sales. Even before our investigation began however -- It was evident that unscrupulous online gun sales pose a significant threat to public safety. When a gun sale was made without a background -- we don't know if it was done online or on a street corner. But in any case it poses significant dangers. For example because this market is essentially unregulated. No information about -- that sales would appear in Trace reports about guns used in crimes. And the widespread disregard for the law that our investigation revealed. Demonstrates the need to take three immediate and crucial steps. First. Federal law should require a background check for every gun sale not just those involving licensed dealers. Private sales by people who are not -- -- account for an estimated 40% of gun sales in the US. Many of them are -- online with no background check. No records kept of sales and no questions asked. The -- gun checks act introduced by New York senator Charles Schumer and by representative Carolyn McCarthy. Would close this gaping loophole. The bipartisan coalition of 600 mayors against illegal guns that I co chair. Propose this bill more than ten months ago after the Tucson mass shooting. Congress should pass this without further -- Second the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives the federal agency responsible for enforcing gun laws. Should itself investigate online sales and enforce existing laws. We've given evidence developed in this investigation. Including audio and video records. To the field division of the ATF and the US attorney's office. The ATF. Should also create an online training video explaining the federal laws governing online gun sales. This would be similar to the online training videos ATF has produced for a licensed gun dealers and the general public. The video should underscore that if you are -- private seller. It is a felony to make a sale to anyone you have reason to believe is prohibited from purchasing firearms. Third and finally. Web site should develop and enforce policies that deter illegal gun sales. Let me point out for example that Craig's -- has a stated policy prohibiting the use of that website for gun sales -- any time. Not only is that policy ignored. But 82% of the sell as we contacted via Craig's list. Also ignored their legal duty to refrain from agreeing to say -- to sales to suspected buyers. That is the worst record of any of the five principal web sites that we looked into so Craig's list really needs to clean up its act. And at a minimum all web sites that do sanction gun sales. Should require buyers and sellers to provide verified personal information about themselves before they can complete transactions. The website should also devise mechanisms that will alert website administrators. Too suspicious behavior. All these steps would go a long ways towards ending the kind of disturbing practices our investigation. Uncovered. And they might well prevent more needless bloodshed in the loss of life in our city and our nation.
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