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The Scourge of Online Gun Sales

Sept. 20 (Bloomberg) -- It’s not difficult to grasp how a man with a history of gun arrests and mental instability obtained the necessary firepower to commit a massacre at the Washington Navy Yard earlier this week. Buying a gun, or even an arsenal, is exceptionally easy in the U.S.

Even so, there are some people who both fail to meet the minimal requirements for purchasing a gun from a licensed dealer and whose relevant personal details are known to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Since 1998, the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System has stopped more than 2 million attempted gun purchases by felons, domestic abusers, drug addicts, the mentally ill and other prohibited persons.