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Dem-ordered study to expose illegal online gun sales backfires

by Brooke Singman  |  Published on January 9, 2018

A Democrat-backed study meant to expose illicit online gun sales instead seemed to show the opposite — with hardly any sellers taking the bait when undercover investigators tried to set up dozens of illegal firearm transactions.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., as well as Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, had commissioned the Government Accountability Office report to look into how online private dealers might be selling guns to people not allowed to have them.

Their efforts were based on a 2016 report from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which claimed that “anonymity of the internet makes it an ideal means for prohibited individuals to obtain illegal firearms.”

“Congressional requesters asked that GAO access the extent to which ATF is enforcing existing laws and investigate whether online private sellers sell firearms to people who are not allowed or eligible to possess a firearm,” the GAO report said.

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