The laws governing private gun sellers' online transactions are alarmingly lax. For one thing, there's no background check required—unless the seller has reason to believe the potential buyer might not pass a background check. But an investigation coordinated by Mayor Bloomberg found that in many cases, gun sellers will unload firearms to shady buyers anyway. Investigators called up 125 private online gun sellers located in 14 states, and found that 62 percent of them were willing to commit a felony by selling to an undercover investigator who freely admitted he could not pass a background check. And in most cases, they had a good laugh while doing so; check out the video:

The investigation [full report below] focused on ten websites that had 25,000 guns available for purchase, and included individual gun sellers on Craigslist, which supposedly prohibits the sale of firearms. In each case, the investigator told the seller that he would probably not be able to pass a background check, but the overwhelming majority of gun sellers proceeded with the transaction anyway. Investigators ultimately met with five of the sellers and purchased four handguns, including one assault-style pistol, and an assault rifle, which ranged in price from $300 - $650. One of the guns was the same model that was used to kill Officer Peter Figoski this week!

The Department of Justice estimates that there are more than 4,000 websites that offer guns for sale, and many websites offer forums for both Federally licensed dealers and unlicensed “private sellers” to advertise side by side. The licensed dealers are required to conduct background checks on prospective buyers, but there's a loophole in the gun laws that allow unlicensed private sellers to sell without background checks. Makes sense, right?

In conducting the investigation, the Bloomberg administration is trying to call attention to a proposed federal law (The Fix Gun Checks Act of 2011) that would require a background check for every gun sale. Previously, the administration sent undercover detectives to a gun show in Arizona record hidden camera videos showing how easy it is to buy guns even if you tell the seller you wouldn't pass a background check. Arizona officials were stomping mad about this city-slicker Bloomberg barging into their state and telling them how to do their laundry, but you can hardly blame them; it did make them look pretty bad.

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