Last week, police in Storm Lake, Iowa got a tip that William Kurtz was trying to swap an AR-15 for a semi-automatic handgun on Facebook. The problem? Back when he was a kid, Kurtz was adjudicated delinquent, and the crimes he committed would be felonies had he been an adult--meaning he couldn't buy, own or possess any guns at all. Almost as soon as he made the purchase, Kurtz was arrested for possession of a firearm by a felon and acquiring a firearm without a permit. When police searched his home, they found Kurtz was loaded for bear. They discovered Kurtz had gotten his hands on a second AR-15, several magazines and ammo rounds, as well as rifle sights.
And apparently he got them all via social media. According to Mayors Against Illegal Guns, gun sales on venues such as Facebook and Instagram are a cottage industry.
And in many cases, the sellers openly state they don't conduct background checks. This is unacceptable. Flat-out unacceptable.
The arrest of Kurtz most likely averted a tragedy. And another one may have been averted last October, when a 15-year-old boy in Greenup County, Kentucky was caught with a 9 mm semi at school. He'd bought it on Facebook from a guy in Ohio.
Craigslist, eBay and Google+ have already banned gun sales without background checks. It's time for Facebook and Instagram to do the same. According to the NYT, Facebook has been very receptive to a request by Mayors Against Illegal Guns to follow suit. But we need to keep the pressure on. Sign here.