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Tens of thousands of guns sold illegally online in U.S.: report

English.news.cn   2013-12-13 10:08:58            

NEW YORK, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- High-volume private sellers are transferring tens of thousands of firearms every year via the Internet in the United States without conducting background checks, a new report said.

The Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition, which issued the document Thursday, had released the first-ever national investigation into online gun buyers in September, which found thousands of people already barred by existing federal law from purchasing guns are flocking to the Internet to evade background checks and acquire guns illegally.

This new report, which examines gun sellers, concludes that nearly one-in-three gun ads on a single website -- Armslist.com --are posted by high-volume sellers, who are selling more than 34 firearms a year without a license, despite the fact that federal law requires anyone "engaged in the business" of selling guns to obtain a Federal Firearms License.

At this rate, these unlicensed sellers would transfer more than 243,800 guns each year, many in violation of federal law.

The investigation -- conducted between August 2013 and October 2013 -- also found that in addition to posting numerous guns for sale, 58 percent of high-volume sellers contacted by investigators voluntarily provided at least one additional indicator that they were illegally "engaging in the business," including selling guns new or in original packaging, selling guns for profit, and buying and reselling guns within a short period of time.

"On December 14th, we will mark a very somber anniversary and pause to remember what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School one year ago," said New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

"Our report shows much more clearly needs to be done to prevent unlicensed sellers of firearms from illegally flooding the Internet with weapons and the result is a massive online, unregulated, second-hand firearms market that threatens public safety," he said.

This new investigation examines a dark corner of the vast private marketplace: unlicensed "private sellers" who are offering guns for sale in such volume that they are effectively acting as dealers - but not conducting the background checks that federal law and public safety require.

This report is the latest in a series of investigations led by Mayor Bloomberg and Mayors Against Illegal Guns into the potential dangers of online gun sales. In September 2013, the coalition released "Felon Seeks Firearm, No Strings Attached," the first-ever national investigation into individual buyers with criminal records seeking to illegally acquire firearms via online gun sales.

In December 2011, Mayor Bloomberg announced the first-of-its-kind undercover investigation of illegal online gun sales in the report "Point, Click, Fire," which found that 62 percent of private sellers were willing to commit a felony by selling firearms to people who likely could not pass a background check.

Since its creation in April 2006, Mayors Against Illegal Guns has grown from 15 members to more than 1,000 mayors from across the country. The coalition has more than 1.5 million grassroots supporters, making it the largest gun violence prevention advocacy organization in the United States.

Editor: Shen Qing
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