Do You Want to Buy a Gun Without All the Paperwork?
The city of New York has some of the strictest gun control regulations in the nation. All buyers are required to go through a certified firearms dealer and obtain a background check before they can acquire a gun, and residents must also obtain a permit to buy a gun. Do You Want to Buy a Gun Without All the Paperwork?
The internet, however, can present unscrupulous customers with a convenient means to circumvent regulations. Armslist.com is one such website where prospective buyers can search through thousands of advertisements for firearms and ammunition and talk directly to the dealers. The 2013 statute that was passed in New York compels sellers to verify that all buyers be checked out by a federal weapons dealer, but there is no enforcement to ensure they follow through.
Lindsay Nichols, an attorney with the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence in San Francisco, states, “Websites like Armslist.com make it far too easy for dangerous people who want firearms to do harm or who want guns to traffic.” “They’re just too easy to acquire guns and earn money off of.”
In 2011, approximately 25,000 guns were for sale online in New York City, according to authorities, and the Department of Justice believes that there are at least 4,000 websites that sell firearms. Advocates of gun regulation believe that criminals have enough opportunity to obtain guns via online sources.
To see how easy it is to buy a gun online without a permit and without undergoing a background check, NY City Lens took the plunge. An undercover journalist established an e-mail account on April 24 and portrayed a potential buyer on Armslist.com.
While over half of the 22 gun retailers who answered to the reporter’s questions declined to sell the reporter a firearm without utilizing a certified firearms dealer, most of them still required the reporter to pass a background check. When the reporter asked whether she could buy the gun for someone else or have a friend buy it for her, a common method known as a “straw purchase” and illegal under federal law, most merchants declined.
Although he set up his e-mail only four days before, during that time frame, NY City Lens was able to procure two rifles, circumventing New York law, and was given information on how to buy an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle without any background check. While talking to the sellers, the reporter negotiated on prices and meeting sites, but the negotiations stopped there.
Despite having explicitly said that she was “concerned about the background check” and had also suggested that a buddy buy the firearm for her, the reporter was able to acquire a rifle just three hours after her e-mail account was established.
The seller was initially dubious. The vendor said, “It sounds like some bullshit police trap you’re trying to set. You keep dropping these hints about being a felon, but are trying to buy it anyway.” Even though the reporter told the seller she was not using the gun for hunting, the seller sold her a hunting rifle anyhow. “I will sell the firearm if you’re a serious buyer,” the vendor stated.
A store in Watertown, New York that sells hunting equipment and other outdoor items was recommended as a location for the meet-up. He said he would provide the gun and pay for the background check for “whoever is getting the rifle,” and it would cost $910. The buyer in New York City Lens had not completed the purchase after arranging to meet at a site, but before setting a date and time for the purchase.
New York City restrictions were confusing to upstate New York merchants who replied, according to a number of those surveyed. In cities, the limitations on guns are tougher, but when outside city limits, rifles and shotguns are easier to obtain and there is no need for a permit. A number of the vendors recommended that the writer research city ordinances or get in touch with the police for more details. Nevertheless, some vendors recommended approaches the journalist may utilize to circumvent municipal and state restrictions.
One vendor proposed a way to get the reporter a Remington 700 SPS Tactical rifle without having to register it. “My weapon wasn’t registered,” the seller explained, “because I acquired it before New York implemented the mandatory registration of rifles. So if I sold it to someone, they could just pretend they bought it before the legislation took effect.” The vendor consented when the journalist mentioned her plan to “decline to register it and only state I obtained it before the regulation took effect.” “As I already stated, there is no way to tell. The law could have been altered a whole 50 times before it was sold. “I think a T.G.I. Friday’s in Woodbury, New York is a better spot to do the exchange,” he said, “since the mall isn’t safe.” The transaction wasn’t completed by New York City Lens.
After she expressed worry about background checks, a third gun vendor refused to sell the reporter an AR-15 semi-automatic weapon, the type of gun used in the San Bernardino shootings. Rather, he proposed another option for procuring the weapon.
The seller wrote in uppercase characters, “[I]t is NOT recommended, although…” “People who have backgrounds that raise suspicions frequently receive anything from friends or family members to get through the checkpoints.”
When the journalist requested if a buddy could purchase the AR-15 for her, the seller said:
“I’m sure it functions like this, but in any case, I’d be in violation of a crime if I knew anything about it.” I have to refuse your request since I cannot make a sale to your friend in light of this information. The pistol will be on Armslist for a few more weeks, and in the meanwhile, I’ll be available to those looking to acquire it for themselves.
He went on to say, “I think that if I sell to a private individual and I don’t have any reason to believe otherwise, it is no longer my business what she does.”
To communicate with Arms list, NY City Lens has set up an online form on its website, as the gun website has no phone number available. Arms list refused to comment when asked many times.