House bill may affect private online gun sellers

Posted at: 01/28/2013 10:30 PM
By: Maria Guererro, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Right now, private sellers and gun shows don’t have to run background checks before selling firearms, even when sold online.

“It's something that I purchased and use for hunting," said Josh King as he pumped his 12-gauge shotgun.

It didn’t take much for King to buy the shotgun online. "He asked if I was old enough and basically through casual conversation asked: Am I a hunter? Did I plan on hunting with it?"

That conversation started online at Jason Dimmick started the online bulletin board about five years ago. It was his way of cutting out the middle man and allowing people to buy, sell or trade firearms directly from each other.

"I connect a willing seller and a willing buyer," said Dimmick. Dimmick said it’s the private sellers’ responsibility to decide who to sell their guns to.

King, who buys and sells on the website, admits of the 10 guns he’s sold, he’s never looked into the buyer’s criminal or mental past. That’s not required for private gun sales or purchases at gun shows.

"Basically I'll talk with the people and size them up over the phone or through email. And if it sounds like somebody that has a sketchy past or they're not on the up-and-up then I wouldn't do business with them," said King.

When KOB Eyewitness News 4 asked if he’s ever done background checks, King said he hadn’t. But that would change if House Bill 77 becomes law. Private sellers and gun shows would be required to run background checks before selling firearms.

Another online seller said he supports background checks but has a different problem with the bill.

"The bill specifically stipulates there's going to be a registration as well as transfer sales tax and there are time limits and periods on all of it," said the seller, who didn’t want to be named. “So the only thing it's doing is making it more difficult for people to sell their own private property."