Exempting private sales of guns from background checks has long been defended as allowing the handing down of family rifles from father to son, but recent reports reveal unregulated private sales of thousands of guns are illegal and criminal.

A recent report by the Federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms showed seizures of guns acquired illegally in Minnesota reached a record amount in 2018 at 3,909, compared to about 2,500 just four years ago.

In one case, 15 guns were purchased on the online site Armslist, which directs people using the site to obey gun laws, but does not require background checks for any transactions.

The Minnesota division of the ATF reported the girlfriend of a felon went on the site to purchase the guns that her boyfriend later sold on the street. Five were later found to have been used in a crime, according to a report in the Star Tribune.

That Armslist site, considered the “Craigslist” of guns, makes a mockery of current gun laws.

It would be very simple to require sites like Armslist to require background checks for buying guns at its virtual store that is likely greater than the biggest gun stores or retailers.

Thousands of guns from online sites are sold to thousands of felons who commit thousands of crimes in the United States on a daily basis while deliberative bodies everywhere can’t pass commonsense gun laws that will curtail the sale of illegal guns and crime.

The group, Everytown for Gun Safety, investigated and determined 28,000 guns were for sale on the Armslist site without the legal requirement for a background check, according to Star Tribune report.

The site is legal. But how transactions are allowed without any kind of background check or any kind of investigation of buyers and sellers is a travesty.

We urge that federal and state governments mandate that these sites require buyers and sellers to have background checks. We also urge the harshest penalties for people who are “straw” buyers for those who otherwise can’t pass background checks.

It’s a commonsense idea that would enforce laws we already have on the books and keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

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