Report Comes As Minnesota Legislature Considers HF 8 and SF 434, Legislation That Would Require Background Checks for All Gun Sales
New Website Lets Users See Where In Minnesota Gun Sales Were Posted on Armslist.com
ST. PAUL, Minn. ― The Minnesota 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 had no legal requirement for a background check — including 28,818 ads in Minnesota. The report comes as Minnesota lawmakers consider HF 8 and SF 434, legislation that would require background checks for all gun sales.
As part of the 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, nearly one in nine buyers was legally prohibited from buying or possessing a gun — and would have failed a background check at a licensed gun dealer.
“If you can’t pass a background check, you shouldn’t have easy access to guns,” said Erin Zamoff, volunteer chapter leader with the Minnesota chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “But today in Minnesota, you do. Minnesotans who walk into gun stores know they’ll have to pass a background check to buy a gun, and the vast majority of us agree the same rules should apply to all gun sales. Our lawmakers should work to pass legislation like HF 8 and SF 434 to require background checks on all gun sales in Minnesota.”
Earlier this year, House leadership unveiled HF 8, legislation to require background checks on all Minnesota gun sales, as one of their first ten bills introduced. Under current federal law, background checks are required only for gun sales by licensed firearm dealers. No background check is required for sales by unlicensed individuals, who can sell guns to strangers they meet online or at gun shows – with no background check, no questions asked, and no way to know whether the buyer is a criminal or otherwise prohibited from having guns.
Polling conducted in 2018 by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune found that 9 in 10 Minnesotans support criminal background checks on all gun sales. Additional polling last year found 87 percent of Minnesotans support temporarily blocking a person from having guns if there are clear red flags that the person poses a threat to self or others.
14 states have enacted laws requiring background checks on all gun sales to address this loophole, but Minnesota 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 on 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 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 national, state and county numbers of ads listed on Armslist for gun sales where no background check was legally required.