The video: In the wake of last month's Arizona shootings, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg sent a group of undercover officers to the Crossroads of the West Gun Show in Phoenix, where they secretly shot video showing how easy it was to buy powerful semiautomatic weapons. In one memorable exchange, a seller assures an undercover officer that no background check is needed and the officer replies, "That’s good, because I probably couldn’t pass one, you know what I mean?" Despite those hints at a troubled background, the seller parts with a $500 Sig Sauer pistol. Though it is not illegal to sell arms at a gun show without a background check, "it is a violation of federal law to sell guns to people if sellers suspect they are felons or mentally ill," according to the The New York Times.
The reaction: "The background check system failed in Arizona, it failed in Virginia and it fails in states around the country," says John Feinblatt, a Bloomberg adviser, as quoted by the Times. "The question is not whether another massacre will occur, but when." This "amazing" video is heartening for New Yorkers who have grown disillusioned with the mayor, says Choire Sicha at The Awl: "Mike Bloomberg! Every time you want to start a mayoral recall campaign, he does something awesome." Still, says Mark Hemingway at The San Francisco Chronicle, Bloomberg's investigation into another state's practices is "unseemly." He should "keep his undercover officers dedicated to preventing crime in his own city," where the murder rate is higher than in Arizona. Watch the video for yourself: