New York Probe Finds Internet Gun Sellers Willing to Make Illegal Deals


A New York City investigation into online gun sales many private sellers are willing to commit a felony by agreeing to sell firearms to people who admit they likely could not pass a background check, reports the Wall Street Journal. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who launched a national campaign to combat illegal guns in 2006, authorized the city to hire licensed private investigators to go undercover and make gun purchases via Internet listings.

Investigators placed telephone calls to 125 private sellers who posted gun advertisements on 10 websites in 14 states, and found 77 of those sellers, or 62 percent, agreed to sell a weapon even after the would-be buyer revealed that he probably couldn't pass a background check. The findings paint a portrait of what city officials call a vast and largely unregulated market for illegal guns on the Internet. One of the illegal guns purchased as part of the sting is the exact make and model of the weapon used to kill New York officer Peter Figoski this week. Bloomberg adviser John Feinblatt has requested meetings with the websites involved in the sting operation in hopes of persuading them to take measures to deter criminal gun sales.

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