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NYC investigates AZ gun show.

The New York Times reports that earlier this month, Mayor Michael Bloomberg sent undercover agents to Phoenix to investigate selling practices at a gun show. Such venues serve as the planet-sized loophole through which people who shouldn't have guns are able to buy them without a background check. In many states, all you need to buy a gun at a show is a driver's license and the ability to seem like you'd pass a background check. Sellers get to decide. The Times provides the following transcript of an exchange that took place at that Phoenix gun show.

Investigator: So, youre not one of those, you know, dealer guys, right?Seller: No. No tax, no form, you dont have to do transfers or nothing.Investigator: Yeah, yeah.Seller: Just see an Arizona ID and thats it with me.Investigator: So no background check?Seller: No.Investigator: Thats good, because I probably couldnt pass one, you know what I mean?

The clerk sold him a Sig Sauer pistol for $500.I've never heard of a mayor running this sort of operation. Can't imagine Arizona officials appreciate Bloomberg's investigation, but it certainly speaks to the desperation of urban mayors. Their cities are being decimated by gun violence. And it's not just a city problem. A 2010 study showed that rural white kids were just as likely as urban black kids to die from gun injuries. All while the NRA's lapdogs stymie widely supported measures like background checks for all firearm sales. Why should it be harder to buy a car than a gun?


Commenting Guidelines

"Why should it be harder to buy a car than a gun?"Damn if I know!

This, from the NYT article, sounds like a joke to me:

Private, unlicensed sellers are not required to run federal background checks, but it is a violation of federal law to sell guns to people if sellers suspect they are felons or mentally ill or are otherwise prohibited from buying.

Who negotiated this law as an alternative to actually requiring background checks/regulating gun shows? How could it be enforced? Gun-show vendors will eventually learn not to sell to people who say "I probably couldn't pass a background check," not because they're worried about observing the law generally, but because they know those people might be undercover police.

I am shocked. Do you hear me --- shocked!!!!So much for the "well-ordered" militia. I think a primary ingredient in gun powder is testosterone.

Why would mayor Bloomberg - considering the troubles his own city faces - why would he take the time and spend his constituents' money to send NYC investigators to AZ?It just seems like New Yor's gun laws are the business of New Yorkers and likewise, that AZ gun laws are Arizona's business.The good Mayor tend his own city. There is a blizzard brewing this week and rather than wasting NYC time and money nosing into other states' business, he would do better to make sure NYC plows are ready to move.

I am having trouble keeping a straight face Ken.Because criminals from NYC, who announce at a gun show that they could not pass a gun check, can buy a gun for $500 and take it back to NYC.So NYC police, at the expense of NYC tax payers, have to deal with another criminal with an illegal gun.Get it?

Michael Cowtan is right, of course, but Ken is also pointing us toward the fact that Mayor Bloomberg can't do much about gun legislation in Arizona. So I guess I give the mayor points for coming up with an imaginative way to call attention to the issue.On the one hand, it would therefore seem a natural issue for President Obama to focus on (and maybe he will - this could be an opening salvo?). On the other hand, there is a GOP majority in the House. On the third hand, positioning the GOP as extreme on gun regulation could be a good political move, looking toward 2012.

On the forth hand :)Gun laws are reserved to the individual states. There is no political benefit for President Obama here, that is to say it would not help him to try to federalize gun laws.

Isn't the U. S. the foremost producer of guns, garden variety, and munitions as well? Why can't Congress have some say so about that end of the problem -- production of firearms? Does it have any say-so about whom the arms can be sold to outside of the country, e.g., to dictators?

It is irrational to even suggest that gun control is not necessary and should not be enforced.

Whether you agree or disagree, it is not "harder to buy a car than a gun" from an unlicensed private seller. If I want to sell you my used jeep, all I have to do is take your money and sign over the title to you. I don't have to ceck to see if you have a driver's license or proof of insurance or run a credit check or a criminal records search or anything. You could even call it the "car show loophole" since I can go to a mall parking lot on any given saturday in the summer (here in the midwest) and sell my classic camaro the same way. Have they actually traced a single gun used in a NYC crime to a sale at an AZ gun show?

Mike, the question should be, how many guns that were used in criminal acts have been in the possession of someone who should not have been able to purchase a gun, to begin with? Why is it so easy to purchase a gun?

Nancy,Like I said, My real issue with David's post is the false rhetorical trick of saying its harder to buy a car than a gun. Has David even been to a gun show or a car show? I just wish we could all discuss this topic based on facts rather than rhetorical tricks. Statistics show that the vast majority of guns used to commit crime were not purchased from private sellers at gun shows. Most are purchased on the black market (from criminals who wouldn't run a background check regardless of the law) and can be traced to staw purchases (bought by someone who could pass the check then given to someone who can't) or undocumented sales (sold for cash out the back door) from licensed dealers. Also, the recent shootings in Arizona and Virginia Tech were with guns purchased legally from licensed dealers who ran background checks. The gun show loop hole in AZ had nothing to do with the shooting in AZ. Mayor Bloomberg should focus on the real sources of guns in NYC rather than trying to score political points with money from the NYPD budget.

and by "David" i meant "Grant"

MikeD: It's true; you've uncovered my use of rhetorical flourish. But if you think that nobody should worry about how easy it is to buy a gun just because Loughner bought his at a federally licenses firearms dealer or that you don't have proof that guns bought in Arizona have been used to harm New Yorkers, then we don't have much to discuss. There is a gun-show loophole. It would be a joke if it didn't involve a product designed to kill people.

Grant,I know all about the gun show loophole. I guess I'm just confused as to why Bloomberg is wasting NYPD money going to AZ (and you are wasting a post on it) when there are states much closer to NY that have not closed the loophole (we all know it is because of the Giffords shooting, which had nothing to do with a gun show). This map shows the most recent data on where the guns used in NY come from: you and Mr. Bloomberg should spent your time and resources a lot closer to home.

Thanks for your concern.

The NRA lobby will have your head for exposing how simple and easy it is to by a weapon and all the ammunition ever needed to raise havoc. It's as if it is a divine right to tote a pistol and do it in an open-carry state like Arizona. Despite an overwhelming amount of evidence that guns kill people, crazy people buy guns, and only the NRA and its supporting arms manufacturers make a profit. How hard would it be to simply ban any concealable firearm and only arm the police with rifles. It is fact that they can't shoot anything cleanly with a pistol anyway. All it allows is a hasty decision to kill and an intimidating presence, most often leading to mistakes. If you feel you need protection in your home (you don't, but that's a whole 'nother issue) buy a pump shotgun.

Evans is right that a pump shotgun is the best for home defense, but not so good for self defense outside the home. As far as whether you need protection, I'm sure the Petit family and the other victims of over 8,000 home invasions per day in N. America are glad you think they don't need protection. I feel much better knowing the police will be there with their single shot muskets to protect and serve AFTER my family has already been robbed, beaten, raped and killed.