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By David Moyer
October 18, 2013
Caption : Police Commissioner Ray Kelly speaks to the media over a table of confiscated firearms during a press conference concerning gun trafficking, Friday, Oct. 12, 2012 in New York. Kelly, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. announced that 16 members of two East Harlem gun trafficking networks are charged with selling more than 100 illegal firearms, including assault weapons and machine guns.      Credit : AP/John Minchillo.

Pop quiz: In 23 states, which carries a longer maximum sentence – possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, or knowingly giving false information to purchase an AK-47?

Actually, it’s a trick question. The gun laws in the aforementioned 23 states have no criminal penalty on individuals using false information for purchasing a gun. In fact, only nine states have enacted criminal penalties for “straw buying,” a process where someone who can purchase a firearm legally does so for someone who cannot.

Each state is allowed to set their own gun and gun trafficking laws, and these laws vary wildly from state to state, a loophole traffickers utilize.

Multiple studies show that guns flow from states with weaker gun laws into states with stricter gun laws. The number of guns being moved is not insignificant. From July 1996 to December 1998, the ATF identified over 84,000 guns that were diverted like this. This “secondary market” can be hugely profitable for gun traffickers, who are frequently able to sell these guns for massive profits and with very little risk.

A U.S. Department of Justice review of ATF study “Project Gunrunner” found that, while drug conspiracy sentences averaged almost 10 years, convictions stemming from gun trafficking carried sentences of less than 1 year in prison.

Unfortunately, the Internet is making it even easier for convicted felons to illegally purchase firearms. Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a coalition of over 1,000 mayors dedicated to preventing “criminals from getting guns while also protecting the rights of citizens to freely own them,” found that private gun-sale site Armslist.com could account for over 25,000 gun sales annually to individuals with criminal records.

The study states:

“There are no Federal background check requirements to prevent such online sales, and the findings reveal that those who would normally be deterred by background checks at dealers are taking advantage of the digital private sale loophole.”

On Armslist, a semi-automatic assault rifle can be purchased for less than $500 Similarly, a semi-automatic pistol sells for less than $100. Both deadly weapons are available to anyone thanks to that loophole in the law.

“Loopholes in our federal gun laws have taken a devastating toll on communities and neighborhoods across America,” Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino said.

Thanks to aggressive lobbying and opposition to any new federal gun laws by “gun-rights” groups, trafficking has become conjuring a false image of the government taking away firearms from upstanding Americans.

This scare-mongering results in lax gun laws, which has led to record sales for gun dealers and a veritable firearms “buffet” for criminals.

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