Study: Gun Background Checks’ Biggest Loophole Online, Not Gun Shows

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(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – An analysis of online gun sales in 10 states over the past two months finds that 15,000 guns – one-third of which were semi-automatic – were being sold without background checks at any given time.

In the study conducted by Third Way — a group that labels themselves part of the “vital center” of politics but has close ties to the Obama administration – 2,000 web ads were analyzed where buyers were intentionally seeking private sales of guns where background checks were exempt from federal laws.

The study has many re-focusing regulation proposals because they now consider online sales to be a greater threat than that of gun show legal loopholes.

“At this point, this is the biggest loophole in the background check system,” Lanae Erickson Hatalsky, director of social policy and politics at Third Way, told the Washington Post.

The study looked at Armslist.com — a popular classified site similar to Craigslist that facilitates private firearms and ammunition sales based on location. The study focused on 10 states where senators voted against a background checks compromise this spring.

The Washington Post reports that background checks are designed to keep guns out of the hands of convicted felons, the severely mentally ill and domestic violence perpetrators. But while these regulations are mandatory for retail gun stores they are not applicable to gun shows and private, person-to-person sales – and definitely not applicable to the Internet.

The failed legislation of Sens. Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey earlier this year included background checks for online gun sales, unlike that of 1993’s Brady Law, which was drafted long before the spread of Internet sales.

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