The investigation focused on the Crossroads of the World gun show held on January 23 in Phoenix, where undercover investigators succeeded at buying guns without a background check. The investigators, who were representatives from the City of New York, even told the sellers that they “probably couldn’t pass” a thorough background check.
“We have demonstrated how easy it is for anyone to buy a semiautomatic handgun and a high capacity magazine, no questions asked,” said Bloomberg in a press release announcing the results. “This country must take two simple steps to stop more of the 34 murders that occur with guns every day: make every gun sale subject to a background check, and make sure the background check system has all the required records in it.”
Mayor Bloomberg has been one of the more vocal advocates for tightening gun control laws in the wake of Giffords’ shooting. He has repeatedly called on Congress and President Obama to use that tragedy as an opportunity to strengthen existing laws and pass new measures.
The investigators that were used in the Arizona study were paid by the city but employed by Kroll, a firm that specializes in business intelligence and risk consulting.
A Glock pistol with a high capacity magazine that held 33 bullets–the same gun used in the Tucson shooting–along with two other semi-automatic guns were purchased at the Crossroads gun show by the investigators.
In 2009, the city conducted a similar investigation that spanned seven gun shows in three states. In that study, 19 of the 30 vendors failed to require background checks. As a result, four of the seven gun shows have since changed their regulations.
“They can do the right thing today by making sure that every gun sale at their shows is subject to a background check,” Bloomberg said. “Four of the seven gun shows we investigated in 2009 have agreed to make that reform, and there is no doubt it will save lives.”
As it stands, federal law does not require background checks to be completed if the seller qualifies as an “occasional seller” and not a federally licensed firearms dealer.