Report Comes As the Florida Legislature Considers Legislation That Would Require Criminal Background Checks for All Gun Sales
New Website Lets Users See Where in Florida Gun Sales Were Posted on Armslist.com
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. ― The Florida chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today responded after a yearlong Everytown investigation uncovered nearly 1.2 million ads on Armslist for firearm sales that would not legally require a criminal background check. Those ads included 93,497 ads for guns for sale in Florida, the second highest number of ads in the country.
The report comes as the Florida legislature considers bills that would require criminal background checks on all gun sales, a measure supported by 87 percent of Floridians. On Wednesday, hundreds of Moms Demand Action volunteers traveled to the Capitol to meet with legislators to support background checks on all gun sales, among other gun violence prevention legislation.
“This investigation highlights the scary truth that Florida is an easy place for people with dangerous histories to get their hands on a gun online,” said Gay Valimont, volunteer leader with the Florida chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “That’s why we urge our lawmakers to pass statewide background check legislation. Background checks are the foundation of any comprehensive gun violence prevention strategy and will help to keep our children and families safe, whether at school, home or in the workplace.”
As part of the Armslist investigation, investigators posted ads in Florida, Georgia, Ohio and Tennessee for gun sales that would not require a background check. Of the people who responded with interest in buying a gun in Florida, nearly one in seven buyers was legally prohibited from buying or possessing a gun — and would have failed a background check at a licensed gun dealer.
14 states have enacted laws requiring background checks on all gun sales, but New Hampshire has not. The investigation released today found that where background checks were required by state law, Armslist.com sellers overwhelmingly showed compliance with the law and indicated a background check would be required before completing the sale. However, where there was no state law requirement, sellers did not indicate they would require a background check for the sale to be completed, offering potential access to people who cannot legally purchase or possess guns.
Also on Tuesday, Everytown also released hidden camera footage in which an investigator licensed in Ohio responded to firearm ads on Armlist and was able to complete multiple firearm purchases without a background check. Everytown also unveiled a new website, everytownresearch.org/unchecked, which allows people to search and compare the national, state and county numbers of ads placed on Armslist for gun sales where no background check was legally required.