A website owned by a for-profit arm of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (Mormon Church), Deseret Media, KSL.com has over 6000 products under its Firearms and Hunting section. The Bloomberg report is condemning the Mormon owned webpage for running classified ads that allow individuals to buy and sell firearms, no questions asked . After the outrage over the Fast and Furious non-scandal where right-wing politicians claimed that similar unregulated gun sales were an “outrage,” the silence is deafening.
The Bloomberg initiated study found that:
- 40 per cent of gun sales were made through private vendors rather than reputable dealers
- 62 per cent of these private vendors carried out no background checks
It is widely known that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is an ardent campaigner for firearms regulation; the lack of which has caused massive numbers of homicides on the streets of New York and across the country. With his study determining that one in four gun sales occur without any accountability, he has every reason to be upset.
A year before the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, there were 1,532 gun-related homicides in New York City. By 2002, the last year for which figures are available, that number had dropped to 365. The 1994 Act contained a sunset provision that caused it to automatically expire 10 years after passage. The NRA financed Republican controlled House failed to renew it in 2004 despite widespread support.
Mayor Bloomberg wrote a letter to both presidential candidates after the Dark Knight Shooting in Aurora, Colorado, urging them to take action. The shooter used one of the automatic firearms that was banned under the 1994 act.
Deseret Media’s homepage reveals this on-the-record philosophy:
Deseret Media Companies (DMC) is a for-profit arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All DMC companies operate under a unified mission, which is “to be a trusted source of light and knowledge reaching hundreds of millions of people worldwide.” DMC focuses on providing content through all its media offerings that is consistent with this mission by treating all with dignity, respect, humility and integrity.
KSL.com’s general manager Brett Atkinson responded to the report: “The responsibility for the transaction is that of the parties involved …This is just like any other transaction, a vehicle, a lawnmower, a bicycle.”
The latest series of hate crimes and domestic terrorism tragedies spotlights the growing problem the loss of the Violent Crime Control Act created. One would think that a religious organization who wants to be viewed as “a trusted source of light and knowledge”, would condemn instead of support an avenue of violence and hatred.