Bloomberg Unveils Videos of Arizona Gun Show Sting

Monday, January 31, 2011

Private gun sellers at an Arizona gun show didn't always require background checks of those who bought weapons, an undercover investigation by the Bloomberg administration revealed.

The investigation, part of Bloomberg's effort to crack down on illegal gun sales nationwide, came weeks after a Tucson shooting that killed six people and injured 13 others, including Rep Gabrielle Giffords.

Bloomberg urged Congress last week to ensure the system for background checks on firearms purchases includes the names of everyone prohibited from buying weapons.

In another attempt to shift the political climate on gun control, post-Tucson, the Bloomberg administration released a series of undercover videos Monday pointing to lax enforcement of laws at a gun show in Arizona.

The videos include one encounter, in which an undercover investigator posing as a buyer at the Crossroads of the West gun show attempts to buy a handgun. At one point, the investigator asks the seller whether he'd have to go through a background check. When the seller shakes his head, the investigator replies, "That's good, because I probably couldn't pass one, you know what I mean?"

Then the seller proceeds with the sale.

That's illegal: although "occasional" dealers at gun show don't usually have to run background checks, the law requires them to do so if it's likely the buyer wouldn't pass one. Watch the exchange here.

In response to the videos, the Crossroads of the West gun show released a defiant statement, arguing that law-enforcement oversight at all events is "conducted on a regular basis."

"Mayor Bloomberg and his 'task force' have no legal authority in the State of Arizona, or in any other place in America except New York City," read the statement. "These forays into America's heartland committing blatant acts to entrap otherwise innocent gun owners is an unlawful scheme that is created by Bloomberg's task force. The result of the task force's illegal activity is the entrapment of individuals by involving them in a crime which the "investigators" themselves actually initiated and committed."

The mayor, further cementing his position as one of the nation's most vocal proponents of gun control, has held several gun control events since the Tucson shootings. He has called upon Congress to require background checks for all gun sales and to vastly expand the number of felons or mentally-ill people prevented from buying guns.

Despite his efforts, his remarks suggested that the shift in Congress has been slim, at best.

"Some elected officials are cognisant of our efforts," he said. "And they're maybe less comfortable with their positions than they were in the past."


More in:

Comments [18]


The gunshow management response was adolescent at best. Hate to get caught with your brain hanging out like that. What was Bloomberg doing in Arizona? Catching people buying guns without a background check.

Jan. 22 2013 06:14 PM
jessix from Naples, FL

"Ace from New Utrecht"

No problem Ace: I own a gun so I can defend myself in case my life or health is threatened by a criminal.

I am a "Little old Lady", living alone in a big house with my cats. Should a criminal decide I'm an easy target, he or she will be in for a rude awakening. Law abiding citizens are vulnerable to criminals because a criminal thinks differently from the way most of us think. We can't imagine hurting another person but criminals use pain or the fear of pain to take what is not theirs.

Police are not able to be everywhere at all times. In a home invasion, there is no time to contact police. In a burglary or robbery a homeowner doesn't want to reveal his location if he can help it. How many 911 calls have we listened to by a victim who was injured or killed because he or she didn't have a firearm to defend himself with? These situations don't happen often but I don't want to be the statistic.

People have different likes and dislikes; they have different living conditions and job requirements. We all have different capabilities. We need the freedom to care for ourselves and others to the best of our ability, according to our differences, as long as our own needs don't interfere with those of others.

Restrictions shouldn't be placed on citizens because there are criminals. Sugar shouldn't be banned because some people have diabetes.
Guns should not be banned because criminals misuse them to commit crimes.
Citizens should not be prevented from defending themselves as best as they can.

I'm not one of those fictitious gun owners who is more apt to have an accident than use their gun properly. I purchased my first gun so I could participate in shooting competitions. I did so for 20 years.

I don't like "Golf".

Feb. 07 2012 01:18 PM
jessix from Naples, FL

What is Bloomberg doing in Arizona? I heard he considered running for the presidency but to my knowledge he has not been elected.

Why is Bloomberg involving himself where he doesn't belong? Does he believe the number of illegal guns in NYC are a result of AZ state laws that differ from those of NYC?

Does Bloomberg realize if guns were outlawed EVERYWHERE in the USA, the "bad guys" would still manage to get their guns? If gun MANUFACTURE was illegal in the USA, you'd have plenty of criminals setting up small home shops to make their own version of shooting machines. Years ago, "ZIP GUNS" (home made) were fashionable among gang members - when real firearms were more difficult to purchase than they are now.

Why has Bloomberg fixated on "gun control" when there are numerous real issues disrupting the lives of Americans nationwide? What a creep!

Feb. 07 2012 12:26 PM
Carl Naaman Bropwn from Tennessee

".... almost certainly, the gun will be used against you, or you will unintentionally harm someone, if not yourself. "

Four of my family members,all women, have defended themselves with firearms over the years, two incidents fully home invasion style, ending with three chase-offs, one burglar detained for arrest, and one case the defender, a woman, held two men who approached her on her front lawn at bay while she escaped. One intrusion involved four men against one woman: the gun was a great persuader.

The local newspapers have reported several incidents of burglars detained for arrest, one instance of a burglar shot after nearly running down the defender with an automobile.

" almost certainly, the gun will be used against you, or you will unintentionally harm someone, if not yourself" happens in gun control progaganda, but it is not happening here.

Feb. 04 2011 05:19 PM
J. Jordan from Rural North Florida

One logical reason to own a gun - it takes 20 minutes, at least, for law enforcement to come to my house, which is well outside any urban area. My wife used a gun to stop a home invasion while I was out of town, holding the crackhead with her .357 while law enforcement responded to our home alarm. About 22 minutes after the alarm went off, the first deputy arrived. My wife was saved from a possible rape, or worse by having a gun and knowing how to use it. When no one breaks into houses, no one is murdered by criminals, no one is raped, then you can being talkign to me to me about why anyone needs a gun. Until then, I'll continue to protect myself and my family. Incidentally, I also have a concealed carry permit.

Feb. 03 2011 11:57 AM
blue lake from NC

the best prayer for all of us -

keep mayor bloomberg very far away from us.

Feb. 01 2011 05:49 PM
Wes Jones from Smithville, MO

Who was taking the video? Did someone walk up to a seller at the gun show, and say "Mind if I stand here and video while you carry on business?" and then the very next guy says he can't pass a background check?? It is more obvious this is a complete ruse on Bloombergs part than the Jerry Springer stuff!!! He can probably fool the progressives in New York but he ain't fooling this redneck from Missouri.

Feb. 01 2011 02:56 PM
Bruiser from Kansas

I love this country. That is exactly how all guns should be sold/purchased. The government is trying to limit our ability to bear arms, cause the progressives are scared guns will prevent them from total control!

Feb. 01 2011 12:56 PM
Mark Neckameyer from Louisiana

I have spent several years in Phoenix and several years working in New York City. Clearly New York is more dangerous, has far more street crime and is a much more dangerous place to live or visit. Blumberg has a lot of nerve picking on a state thousands of miles from his cesspoool of a state. I agree with other posters, let Arizona see how easy it is to get guns, fake IDs, teen prostitutes and drugs in Times Square and then let's talk. How can supposedly smart Mew Yorkers elect morons like this to high office!?

Feb. 01 2011 12:32 PM
J Wilkes from Long Beach

Lets's have a contest..Survivors!!

* How long do you think it will take
undercover agents to purchase drugs
in Time Square?

* How long did it take Bloomy to set up
his latest media cameo.?
[.proof to all]
that he is a "wanna be" looking for a
virtual reality show.

Game's up Bloomy.... [Trump already beat you !!]

Jan. 31 2011 11:27 PM

What is to say that these sellers weren't on Bloombergs payroll to. Isn't the first time viedos have been rigged to push a agenda.
60 min come to mind

Jan. 31 2011 07:15 PM

Logical Reason from AZ: What does owning a gun have to do with justice?

Jan. 31 2011 01:57 PM

Most people who own a gun are responsible owners (I think. I have no basis for this, but I'll assume.) However, the majority of people I know who own a handgun think that they'll be using it to protect their families in a break-in. Okay, you've practiced at the firing range, ear protection, both hands on the gun, etc. (Once again I'm guessing). That in no way is going to resemble a real-life home invasion, and almost certainly, the gun will be used against you, or you will unintentionally harm someone, if not yourself.

Jan. 31 2011 01:49 PM
geTaylor from Bklyn., NY

Wow - Mayor Bloomberg has solved the mystery of how the "Tuscon Shooter" obtained his weapon!

Jan. 31 2011 12:54 PM

The belief that people need to own or have access to guns for reasons other than hunting or sport, is essentially a religious belief. Are religious beliefs logical or rational? Perhaps not, but they are constitutionally protected. However, behaviors arising from these consitutionally protected rights can be regulated by law.

Jan. 31 2011 12:39 PM
Logical Reason from AZ

You and I have a right to life.
You and I have a right to defend our life.
Morally, we all should stand for justice.
These both require a force that is equal or greater to our opposition.
We need to responsibly practice the rights that we wish to keep.

Jan. 31 2011 10:55 AM
Truckie_Bill from Phoenix

Plain and simple, privtae gun sellers are NOT required by Federal Law to perform a background check. There was nothing illegal done in AZ.

Jan. 31 2011 10:30 AM
Ace from New Utrecht

could someone supply one logical reason for anyone to own a gun?

Jan. 31 2011 10:26 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.


Latest Newscast




WNYC is supported by the Charles H. Revson Foundation: Because a great city needs an informed and engaged public


Supported by