CBS 5 Investigates gun sales on Valley streetsPosted: Updated:
The 9 mm semi-automatic handgun is among the most commonly used crime guns in Arizona, according to law enforcement officers who spoke to CBS 5 News. And that weapon is widely available for sale on the streets of the Valley with no identification required and no background checks. What's more, it is perfectly legal.
"Private citizens are allowed to sell weapons to other private citizens," said attorney Marc Victor, who represents people accused of gun violations. "Here in Arizona, you can sell without a license. You can buy without a license."
Private sales of handguns and rifles are allowed under federal and state law without background checks, so long as the seller is not in the business of selling guns. But according to legal experts, defining what "in the business of selling guns" means is up for debate.
"It's never been clear," said Victor.
CBS 5 Investigates went undercover to see how fast someone can purchase a 9 mm handgun through a private sale. After identifying a seller online, making a phone call, and driving to the point of sale, which was a gas station parking lot, only 21 minutes had gone by. The seller asked for no identification.
"There are people buying and selling guns all time time. We could have walked across the street and purchased one," said Jess Torrez, a former DPS SWAT officer who handled the gun purchase for CBS 5 News.
It was almost as easy to meet with someone who was selling a Lapua .338 sniper rifle. The military version of this rifle holds the record for the longest kill shot in Afghanistan, with the target more than 1.5 miles away.
Torrez says cautious sellers will demand identification to ensure the buyer is an Arizona resident. He says some sellers even require their buyers to produce a state-issued CCW permit, which shows they have already undergone a criminal-background check. But that is not necessary under Arizona law.
Marc Victor says not even President Barack Obama's recent executive orders on gun sales is likely to change the freedom private sellers and buyers enjoy.
"The reality is they don't change much of anything at all," said Victor.
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