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NYC Criminal Justice Coordinator

On December 14, 2011, the City of New York announced a first-of-its-kind undercover investigation of illegal online gun sales. The recordings below provide actual audio from the investigation, which covered 125 sellers from 14 states advertising on 10 websites.



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  • Ohio Seller on ArmsList.com Sells Assault Rifle
    Ohio Seller on ArmsList.com Sells Assault Rifle
    Private sellers advertising guns online react when our investigators say "I probably couldn't pass a background check."

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    Ohio Seller on ArmsList.com Sells Handgun
    Ohio Seller on ArmsList.com Sells Handgun
    A seller in Johnstown, Ohio advertising a gun on Armslist.com sells a Ruger Mini 14 assault rifle to an apparent prohibited purchaser.

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    Kentucky Seller on Craigslist.com Agrees to Sell Assault Rifle
    Kentucky Seller on Craigslist.com Agrees to Sell Assault Rifle
    A seller in Louisville, Kentucky advertising a gun on Craigslist.com agrees to sell a Polytech Hunter AK assault rifle to an apparent prohibited purchaser.

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  • Utah Seller on KSL.com Agrees to Sell Assault Rifle
    Utah Seller on KSL.com Agrees to Sell Assault Rifle
    A seller in Orem, Utah advertising a gun on KSL.com, a website managed by Deseret News, agrees to sell a DPMS Panther AR-15 assault rifle to an apparent prohibited purchaser.

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    Texas Seller on ElPasoGunTrader.com Does the Right Thing
    Texas Seller on ElPasoGunTrader.com Does the Right Thing
    After a private investigator tells a seller in El Paso, Texas that he couldn’t pass a background check, the seller passes the integrity test by stopping the sale.

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    Ohio Seller on Gunlistings.org Agrees to Sell to a Teenager
    Ohio Seller on Gunlistings.org Agrees to Sell to a Teenager
    It is a federal felony to sell a handgun to someone younger than 18. A seller in Gallipolis, Ohio advertising a gun on Gunlistings.org agrees to sell to an investigator who says he is 17 years old.

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The investigation uncovered a vast and unregulated online market for illegal guns.  City investigators found:

  • 62 percent of online sellers agreed to sell guns to investigators posing as buyers who couldn’t pass a gun background check – a felony under federal law. 

  • 82 percent of sellers on Craigslist agreed to sell guns to people they believed to be prohibited purchasers – though the website prohibits online firearms sales. 

The accompanying report - Point Click, Fire: An Undercover Investigation of Illegal Online Gun Sales (PDF) - documents the extent of the online gun market, details the City’s investigative techniques, and offers recommendations on how illegal online sales can be prevented.

For media inquiries about the investigation, contact the New York City Mayor's office at 212-788-2958.