Gun control: Bloomberg, bruised, rejoins battle over background checks (+video)
Gun-control advocate Bloomberg, who suffered a defeat with the recall of two Colorado state senators, said a new study shows criminals avoiding background checks by buying guns online.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, one of the most outspoken critics of the free-flowing sale of firearms in the United States, jumped back into the gun-control fray Wednesday, announcing the results of a study into the online marketplace for guns.Skip to next paragraph
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The study, sponsored by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a coalition of more than 1,000 mayors advocating tougher curbs on firearm sales, looked into the online transactions of private gun sellers, who are not required by federal law to conduct background checks. The coalition was founded by Mayor Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Tom Menino in 2006.
"In the digital age, convicted felons, domestic abusers, and other dangerous people who are legally barred from buying guns can do so online with little more than a phone number or e-mail address,” Bloomberg said at City Hall on Wednesday. "And as our investigation shows, thousands of criminals and other prohibited purchasers are doing just that. In fact, not only are criminals buying guns online, they're doing so brazenly by openly advertising that they want to buy them.”
The mayor announced the findings two days after Navy reservist Aaron Alexis stepped into the US Naval Sea Systems Command headquarters in Washington, D.C., about a mile from the US Capitol, and gunned down 12 workers and wounded eight others before being killed by police.
The announcement also comes a week after Bloomberg suffered a stinging personal defeat when two state senators in Colorado, supporters of stricter gun control, lost their seats in the state’s first ever recall election.
The New York mayor had poured $350,000 into last Tuesday’s vote, which ousted Colorado Senate President John Morse and Sen. Angela Giron, both Democrats, who voted in favor of legislation requiring background checks for all firearm purchases and banning magazines with more than 15 rounds of ammunition.
In Wednesday’s remarks, the mayor singled out an online gun market called Armslist – a pun of the popular classified site Craigslist. The study only surveyed buyers on the site – a total of 13,000 want-to-buy listings, whose contact information was then matched up with criminal records – and found that 1 of 30 would-be buyers had felony or domestic abuse records that would not pass current background checks.