City Hall Sting Finds Illegal Gun Sales In Phoenix


Undercover investigators exposed a dangerous loophole at an Arizona gun show where they easily bought a pistol and a multi round clip, "like the weapon used in Tucson," without undergoing background checks, Mayor Bloomberg said Monday.

City Hall launched their $100,000 undercover sting in Arizona just 15 days after the Tucson massacre, which killed six people and injured 13 others, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Bloomberg showed three videos where the undercovers bought guns and a 33-round magazine on Jan. 23rd from the Crossroads of the West Gun Show in Phoenix.  Bemoaning the ease of such purchases, Bloomberg referenced the gunman charged in the Jan. 8th Tucson shooting.

"It does make it easier for a lunatic like Jared Loughner to kill people on a mass scale," he said.

In one video, an undercover is able to buy a 9mm gun even after telling the seller that he probably couldn't pass a background check.  The undercover stresses that he likes a gun that's "concealable" and also mentions that he wants to buy "a big clip" of ammunition.

"That sale was blatantly illegal but it happens all the time," said the mayor.

Arizona is the fourth state where Bloomberg has sent in undercovers, armed with video cameras, to demonstrate the ease of buying weapons at gun shows.  It's part of his effort to crack down on illegal gun sales nationwide and push for universal background checks, which aren't required of so-called occasional sellers at gun shows.

The vast majority of the 5,000 weapons the NYPD confiscated from city streets last year had been bought illegally out of state, with Virigina being the biggest supplier, said Police Commisioner Ray Kelly.  He said the lack of background checks endangers New Yorkers.

"It is a loophole that you can drive a truck through and fill that truck with guns," said Kelly.

Bloomberg last week urged Congress to make sure the system for background checks on firearms purchases includes the names of everyone prohibited from buying weapons.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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