Everytown for Gun Safety, the advocacy group funded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has a new report out today about the online gun-sales market. The group says its investigators examined tens of thousands of ads for online, unlicensed gun sales in Washington state. In most states individuals selling guns online aren’t legally obligated to perform background checks on buyers—but Everytown looked into the pasts of 81 people who’d posted want ads identifying themselves as interested in buying guns and found that eight of them had committed crimes that should have disqualified them from owning firearms. For example:
On June 23, 2013, a man who listed his location as “Vancouver, Washington” posted an ad seeking a variety of pistols. The phone number provided in the ad belonged to a 28-year-old male who in 2009 was charged with raping a woman he had intimidated with a handgun and convicted of domestic violence assault, which prohibited him from possessing a firearm.
As Everytown points out, that eight-in-81 rate is just from ex-cons who voluntarily posted details online about their intent to violate the law, suggesting that the true proportion of online gun buyers with disqualifying criminal histories could actually be higher.
Corrrection, September 17, 2014: This post originally misstated the name of the Everytown for Gun Safety group.