Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Arizona Bans Internet Sale of Tobacco Products

The state of Arizona has enacted legislation, which went into effect on August 2, which bans the sale of tobacco products over the internet.

According to an article on the KPHO (CBS5, Phoenix) web site: "Senate Bill 1280 prevents the sale in Arizona of tobacco products over the internet and through other non-face-to-face methods of sale. Now, only Arizona-licensed tobacco distributors or retailers ordering from an Arizona-licensed tobacco distributor can purchase the products through delivery sales. Attorney General Tom Horne's office said a violation of the law is a felony offense and offenders will be subject to civil and criminal penalties including fines, injunctive relief, fees and costs incurred by the state for prosecution."

The Rest of the Story

This may seem like an innocuous story. However, consider this tidbit of information, which is the rest of the story:

While Arizona now prohibits the purchase of tobacco products over the internet, Arizona is one of the few states which allows the purchase of guns over the internet. No background check is required. And no record of the sale is required.

According to an article in The Republic: "For the most part, firearms can't be purchased online without the buyer showing up at a store and undergoing a background check. Among the exceptions: Arizona. ... Due to loopholes in Arizona law and in federal law, Arizona buyers are free to purchase guns online from so-called private sellers in their state. No background check and no record of sale are required. Sellers will often ship the guns by mail or meet the buyer in person. Last year, the City of New York conducted an undercover investigation of online firearms sales. ... Investigators examined 125 private sellers on 10 websites. Seventy-seven of the 125 online sellers - or 62 percent - agreed to sell a gun to someone who said he could not pass a background check. In fact, 8 of the 10 sellers contacted in Arizona failed this test, according to the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns. James Holmes, the suspect in last week's shooting rampage at a movie theater in suburban Denver, allegedly bought a stash of ammunition online."

The rest of the story is that in Arizona, you can't purchase Camel snus online. But you can purchase a gun over the internet, without any background check and without even a record of the sale.

Policy makers in Arizona can now rest easier, knowing that while no one is purchasing tobacco over the internet, every convicted felon and his brother can purchase guns online to kill or maim their local Congressman. Every medical school dropout can go online to buy guns and ammunition to kill scores of people at the local movie theater. And every white supremacist can use the internet to purchase a gun to kill worshippers at their nearest Sikh temple.

(Thanks to Leonard Glantz for the tip).

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