October 7, 2009

Earlier today, we reported on a set of videos being released today by the office of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg that reveal vendors at gun shows selling weapons to people who tell them flat-out that they couldn't pass a background check -- something that is in fact against the law.

The videos are now available for public viewing. We've provided a couple of them here at C&L, but go see the full set of them -- along with the accompanying report -- visit the NYC.gov website Gun Show Undercover.

There seems to be some confusion, at least among our readers, whether they're watching something illegal. They are. As the mayor's office explained in its press release:

Even though private unlicensed sellers are not required to run background checks using the FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check system, it is a federal felony for them to sell guns to people they have reason to believe are prohibited purchasers (such as felons or the mentally ill). In purchases attempted on 30 private sellers, the undercover investigator showed interest in buying a gun by asking about stopping power or by dry-firing the weapon. After agreeing on a price, the undercover would indicate that he probably couldn’t pass a background check. At that point, the seller is required by law to refuse the sale – but only 11 out of 30 sellers did so. Investigators found private dealers who failed these integrity tests at every show, including two sellers who failed at multiple shows. In total, 19 of the 30 private sellers approached failed the integrity test.

The 11 sellers who terminated the sale confirmed that private sellers know the law. As one seller in Columbus, Ohio, explained “I mean even as a private citizen, I’m kind of allowed a certain latitude, but once you say that [you can’t pass the background check], I’m kind of obligated not to….I think that’s what the rules are.”

The investigation also revealed that some private sellers are in fact apparently “engaged in the business” of selling firearms without a federal license, in violation of the law. For example, one seller sold to investigators at three different gun shows and acknowledged selling 348 assault rifles in less than one year.

So when you see characters like this, you're seeing the kind of people who willingly, knowingly, and intentionally flout the law because there's no way -- outside of investigations like this -- they'll ever get caught:

"I don't need your address."

"No background check?"

"Nothing. Just show me that you're from Ohio."

"That's good about the background check because I probably couldn’t pass one."

"I don't care. All's I got to do is demand you show me your license."

"You don’t care about the background check, right?"

"Nope. Nope. I wouldn't pass either, bud." [grin]

The NRA likes to claim that "the gun show loophole is a myth." These videos -- and the broader results of the investigation -- pretty definitively demonstrate that it does indeed exist.

Americans For Gun Safety has a complete rundown on the gun-show loophole and why it needs to be closed.

The NRA and its enablers will claim this is a radical-left agenda item. But the legislation to close this loophole is sponsored by those radical leftists John McCain and Joe Lieberman. The office conducting this investigation is the Republican New York Mayor's. That's some radical left agenda indeed.

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