News & Resources

Garage sales provide loophole for unregistered gun owners

Jul 22, 2011 Matt Roesly

The looming threat that the Obama administration is planning to crack down on gun ownership laws has led some prospective gun owners to search for alternative, less official options of purchasing a firearm. KOLD-TV reports that in Arizona, it's fairly common to find a firearm for sale at garage or yard sales. A transaction in this environment eliminates the need for a background check or registration papers, essentially allowing anyone - even those with a criminal history or mental illness - to own a gun. "If someone wants to sell a gun at a garage sale, it's their right to do so," Tom Mangan, a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, told the news source. "It is what it is: personal property." It's important for a gun to be registered to an owner, because should it be left at a crime scene, it can be traced. This perceived lack of government privacy is the reason some gun owners prefer not to register. There are those in Arizona who are purchasing legally, however. Approximately 125,000 people have been administered background checks for firearms purchases during the first six months of 2011, putting the state on track to eclipse its record 215,000 screenings in 2009, KTAR-FM reports.