Mormon Church ‘owns unregulated gun sale website’
One of the most active and unregulated gun sale websites in America is owned by the Mormon Church, an investigation by New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg has revealed.
KSL.com was criticised by the Mayor’s office for running classified adverts which allow individuals to buy and sell handguns and other firearms without proper background checks and no questions asked.
The site is owned by Deseret Media, the for-profit arm of the Church of the Latter Day Saints – also known as the Mormons – which has come to prominence recently as a result of the presidential run of member Mitt Romney.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is a lead campaigner for the regulation of firearms which cause carnage on the streets of New York and across the country, recording an advert aired during Sunday’s Super Bowl calling for greater gun control.
A source who worked on his investigation into online gun sales said: “One would think that a church would feel a special obligation to make sure that they weren’t fuelling a black market for a particularly deadly form of commerce.”
The KSL classifieds site currently has adverts for nearly 6,000 products under its firearms and hunting section, including more than 1,000 hand guns. Powerful Glocks, Smith & Wessons and Sigs are all on offer.
The Bloomberg report criticises the site for allowing buyers and sellers to trade privately, without having to identify themselves.
This allows unscrupulous buyers who do not want their purchases recorded and tracked to buy a firearm without it being traced back to them or having to submit to a background check.
Mormon Church ‘owns unregulated gun sale website’ Brett Atkinson, general manager of KSL.com, said that the site included links to a statement which advised those using the site to abide by federal and local gun laws, and provided “suggestions” for safe sales, such as refusing to sell to minors.
“The responsibility for the transaction is that of the parties involved,” Mr Atkinson added. “This is just like any other transaction, a vehicle, a lawnmower, a bicycle.”
The study by the New York mayor showed that 40 per cent of gun sales were made through private vendors rather than reputable dealers. Of these private sellers, 62 per cent carried out no background checks on those they sold to.
By Rosa Prince, New York