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You may have seen the billboards for the annual Crossroads of the West gun show, which comes to the Del Mar Fairgrounds on Feb. 12.
The gun show was recently the subject of an investigation by the office of Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City. According to Bloomberg’s office, New York City investigators were able to buy guns from vendors without passing a background check and despite telling the vendors that they “probably wouldn’t pass a background check.”
Here’s a snippet from a press release issued by Bloomberg’s office:
“We have demonstrated how easy it is for anyone to buy a semiautomatic handgun and a high capacity magazine, no questions asked,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “This country must take two simple steps to stop more of the 34 murders that occur with guns every day: make every gun sale subject to a background check, and make sure the background check system has all the required records in it. Congress should act now, but gun show operators shouldn’t wait. They can do the right thing today by making sure that every gun sale at their shows is subject to a background check. Four of the seven gun shows we investigated in 2009 have agreed to make that reform, and there is no doubt it will save lives.”
I called Crossroads of the West. They sent me a fax. Here’s a snippet from that:
Law-enforcement oversight at all Crossroads of the West gun shows is conducted on a regular basis. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms regularly has several undercover agents enforcing federal law at the Phoenix show, and state and local law-enforcement agencies work cooperatively with BATF and other agencies to ensure that activities at the show are legal.
The Crossroads statement also claims Bloomberg’s investigators broke federal law by buying the guns, since they “presumably reside in a state other than Arizona.”
I called Bloomberg’s office. A spokesman told me the investigators were all licensed Arizona private investigators.
“The only people who broke the law here were the sellers,” the spokesman told me.