National Politics

Mormon Church subsidiary facilitates sale of unregulated guns

The Mormon Church isn’t just a house of worship, it’s a business too. In fact it’s a huge corporate conglomerate with many commercial subsidiaries, including “one of the most active and unregulated gun sale websites in America.”

The site, KSL.com, is owned by Deseret Media, one of the for-profit enterprises of the Mormon Church. It runs classified ads “which allow individuals to buy and sell handguns and other firearms without proper background checks and no questions asked.”

The KSL classifieds site currently has adverts for nearly 6,000 products under its firearms and hunting section, including more than 1,000 hand guns. Powerful Glocks, Smith & Wessons and Sigs are all on offer.

It allows private sales where buyers and sellers can remain anonymous so the transactions are untraceable. In response to criticism for allowing unregulated sales, the company spokesman shrugs off the concerns:

Brett Atkinson, general manager of KSL.com, said that the site included links to a statement which advised those using the site to abide by federal and local gun laws, and provided “suggestions” for safe sales, such as refusing to sell to minors.

“The responsibility for the transaction is that of the parties involved,” Mr Atkinson added. “This is just like any other transaction, a vehicle, a lawnmower, a bicycle.”

Well, except none of those things are specifically designed to kill. And how exactly is a sternly worded statement going to stop a homicidal maniac from buying guns. It’s exactly this lackadaisical attitude that contributes to our embarrassing gun-related death rate. Check out this interactive map on gun deaths to see how we compare to the rest of the world. It’s appalling.

We average about 30,000 gun related deaths a year in the U.S. In the day and half since the Aurora massacre, “another 100 or so people have been shot to death in America.” Just because no law will completely eliminate this senseless gun violence doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strengthen the laws to make it more difficult to do so.

No one is trying to take guns away from responsible owners. I believe the Second Amendment clearly protects the right to bear arms. But surely we can at least try to prevent any disturbed individual with an internet connection from assembling a lethal arsenal of weaponry. I would think truly responsible gun owners would support that effort. [hat tip to SoBeale]

Libby Spencer
Libby Spencer is a social media maven whose political commentary has been published on a wide variety of websites including a rather short lived guest blog at Fox News. She has been practicing her particular brand of punditry at the Detroit News Politics blog since April 2004.