2006_12_mayorbgun.jpgMayor Bloomberg announced the city's second federal lawsuit against out-of-state gun dealers who have sold many illegal guns involved in NYC crimes This is how the gun dealers violated law:

The investigators, in teams of two, entered gun stores and followed a scenario commonly known as “straw purchasing” – where one individual makes all of the inquiries into purchasing the gun, and then the other individual, completely uninvolved in the sale process, fills out the required federal forms to pass the background check. Federal law prohibits licensed dealers from selling firearms to individuals when they have a reasonable belief that the firearm being sold is not for the person who purports to be the purchaser.

All 12 dealers named in the suit sold a gun to a team of undercover investigators, who wore hidden cameras during their sting operations. Even in the face of obvious “red lights” that should have immediately ended the discussion between dealer and customer, including that the straw purchaser did not participate in the transaction until the time came to fill out the federal forms and did not pay for the gun.

In May, the city filed its first suit against 15 dealers (the city's stings included undercover videos) , which has now resulted in settlements with 6 dealers. The NY Times says the new lawsuit "reflects the city's growing confidence that its novel approach to battling illegal gun traffic is gaining momentum," but that the success is "limited," as no other cities have attempted to develop such programs. Plus other gun dealers have countersued the city. In fact, many dealers say they are innocent (one dealer claimed that he sold guns to undercover agents because he thought the male-female team was a married couple) and their lawyers say that it's "unfair" to blame the dealers when the guns change hands so many times.

No matter, as Mayor Bloomberg said during his press conference, "Illegal guns don’t belong on our streets and we’re sending that message loud and clear. We’re determined to see that gun dealers who break the law are held accountable, and that criminals who carry illegal loaded guns serve serious time behind bars. It’s just that simple."

And to tout the law that Governor Pataki signed last month that makes the mandatory minimum sentence for illegal gun possession 3 1/2 years, the city has rolled out a subway advertising campaign.