Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Background-check measure defeated; reporters find anyone can sell or buy guns online

The gun-bill amendment to expand background checks fell six votes short of the required 60 votes to pass the Senate this afternoon. Yesterday, gun-bill advocates suggested adding a rural exception that would exempt residents who live hundreds of miles from a gun dealer, but with the announcement Wednesday that Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) will vote against the proposal, the bill was doomed, Ed O'Keefe and Tom Hamburger report for The Washington Post.

Sixty votes are required for the proposal to get past a filibuster, and the vote was 54-46. Without the expansion of background checks, which was dicey in the House, Congress is not expected to pass any significant gun controls, with the possible exception of new limits on gun trafficking. (Read more)

UPDATE, April 18: The Washington Post reports, "Just 40 senators supported the assault-weapons ban and 46 supported limiting the size of ammunition magazines. In addition, an NRA-backed measure that clarified gun-trafficking laws fell short, with just 58 votes, stunning Democrats. More senators, 57, voted for a provision that would greatly expand gun rights — allowing people with permits to carry concealed weapons in their states to carry them nationwide — than supported expanding background checks."

Meanwhile, The New York Times went online to see how the process of Internet gun sales works, and to uncover the identity of sellers and buyers. What reporters Michael Luo, Mike McIntire and Griff Palmer discovered was that online gun sites are an easy place for people illegally allowed to buy or sell guns to make a quick deal.

Mostly using the site Armslist, the reporters began responding to ads, and found a convicted felon, a fugitive, and a repeat offender trying to buy or sell firearms. They also discovered one seller who has advertised more than 100 guns, and another that has advertised more than 80. Over the past three months, the paper "identified more than 170,000 gun ads on Armslist."

"The examination of Armslist raised questions about whether many sellers are essentially functioning as unlicensed firearms dealers, in contravention of federal law," they write. The reporters site a A 2011  undercover investigation by the City of New York that examined "private party gun sellers on a range of Web sites, including Armslist, to see if they would sell guns to someone who said that they probably could not pass a background check, and found 77 of 125 online sellers agreed to sell the weapons anyway." (Read more)

No comments: