An investigation estimates that thousands of people with criminal records could have bought guns on just one classified ad website, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.
Bloomberg's group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, conducted a four-month investigation of Armslist.com. The group checked out 600 people who posted that they wanted to buy guns. In a report, the group said one in 30 of them had a felony record, which excludes them from buying firearms. Bloomberg's group extrapolated the data to conclude the site could have more than 25,000 illegal buyers.
"And as our investigation shows, thousands of criminals and other prohibited purchasers are doing just that," Bloomberg said in a statement. "In fact, not only are criminals buying guns online, they're doing so brazenly by openly advertising that they want to buy them."
Bloomberg said the investigation merely "scratched the surface" of the Internet's illegal guns market.
"In the past we've seen what can happen when dangerous loopholes allow criminals to have easy access to guns," Bloomberg said. "Just last year, a judge issued a restraining order against Radcliffe Haughton of Wisconsin to protect his wife, Zina Daniel. That order prohibited him from buying firearms. So he turned to Armslist, where he found a nearby seller who sold him a .40 caliber semi-automatic Glock handgun with no background check."
He urged Congress to pass legislation requiring background checks for all gun sales.
"Bipartisan legislation pending in both chambers of Congress -- sponsored in the Senate by Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey, and in the House by Representatives Pete King and Mike Thompson -- would close this gaping loophole," Bloomberg said.
An Associated Press request for comment from the site was not immediately returned.
"Always comply with local, state, federal, and international law. ARMSLIST does not become involved in transactions between parties," a disclaimer reads.