Reuters, NEW YORK, Dec. 12 – A report released on Thursday by a group of U.S. mayors pushing for gun restriction claims that thousands of guns are being offered for sale illegally by unlicensed firearms dealers on a single U.S. website.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns, an organisation created and substantially supported by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, studied sales on Armslist.com over an eight-week period this year. Armslist.com is a significant gun-trading website that permits sales in all 50 states.
Nearly a third of the advertising, according to the report, were placed by “high-volume” sellers who lacked the federal licence necessary for people who frequently sell firearms.
Though state laws governing such transactions vary, in general, private sellers are permitted to lawfully sell a gun online without first examining the buyer’s criminal and mental health histories. Federal law mandates that anybody “in the business” of selling weapons must have a licence and run background checks on potential customers.
Based on its sample, the mayors’ group predicted that high-volume merchants acting as private sellers and not necessarily requiring background checks would promote approximately 240,000 weapons on the website annually.
According to these results, law enforcement, lawmakers, and online retailers must all take action to stop this possibly lethal flow of illegal firearm transactions, Bloomberg said in a statement.
He pointed out that the report was made public just two days before the anniversary of the Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school shooting, which left 20 children and six adults dead.
Since Newtown, “little has changed in Washington,” according to Bloomberg.
A gun control bill supported by President Barack Obama was unsuccessful in the U.S. Senate earlier this year despite the indignation brought on by the tragedy in Newtown. Gun rights activists claimed that unrestricted access to firearms is a constitutional right.
To commemorate this week’s Newtown tragedy, gun control supporters, including those from Newtown, gathered at the National Cathedral in Washington on Thursday.
The cathedral and the charity Newtown Foundation, both of which support stricter federal gun restrictions, arranged the “National Vigil for Victims of Gun Violence,” which was attended by roughly 500 people.
To halt school shootings, the campaigners were urged by the Reverend Mel Kawakami of the United Methodist Church in Newtown.
We’re here to say ‘No more,’ he declared.
Users of armslist.com are required to agree that they will not break the law and that armslist.com “does not become involved in any transactions between parties.” An inquiry for comments was not immediately answered by the website’s administrators.
Despite stepping down as mayor at the end of the year, Bloomberg, one of the most well-known and rich supporters of stricter gun legislation in the United States, has declared he will continue to work on the subject. (LaLacey Johnson in Washington contributed additional reporting, and Edith Honan and David Brunnstrom edited the piece.)