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Lawmaker proposal would regulate Internet gun sales


April 26, 1999
Web posted at: 11:02 p.m. EDT (0302 GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Citing "glaring loopholes" that allow criminals and children to buy a wide array of guns via the Internet, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York) called Monday for passage of a bill to regulate Web sites that sell firearms.

"If you want to know the future in the black market of guns, it's the computer in your home," Schumer said. "Under the anonymity of the Web, strangers meet on the Internet under aliases, discreetly bid for guns, and make the sale with no questions asked."

The Internet Gun Trafficking Act, which Schumer introduced a month prior to the school shootings in Littleton, Colorado, calls for only federally licensed gun dealers to sell guns over the Internet.

Those Web sites would be registered with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Firearms sold over the Internet would be shipped to another licensed dealer in the purchaser's area.

The gun buyer would then need to show up in person and go through all of the standard procedures and background checks required under the Brady Act, which Schumer helped to co- author.

Web sites that post or list firearms for sale on behalf of private owners would also be required to serve as the "middle man" for any purchase or transaction.

At a press conference Monday, Schumer demonstrated the ease of buying a gun online.

He entered several Web sites that offer guns for sale without performing federally mandated background checks or complying with interstate shipping regulations.

Schumer said there was no information on the number of sales made over the Internet, but the number is growing without the proper safeguards. An Internet purchase could include machine guns, assault weapons and silencers.

"Gun sales are vast, loose and secretive," Schumer said.

(Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms)
Prevent Internet From Becoming "On-Line Arms Bazaar"
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