- Some gun-control advocates say that on the Internet, anything goes.
- But gun advocates say no, any purchase requires a background check.
Suspected Colorado movie theater gunman James Holmes purchased more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition on the Internet in the space of 60 days, according to police reports. He also purchased four guns, including a military-style AR-15 assault rifle, from local stores. All of his purchases -- both online and in-person -- were legal, authorities said.
"It's a wide-open marketplace," Tom Mauser, a gun-control advocate in Colorado whose son was killed in the 1999 Columbine shootings, told reporters. "The Internet has really changed things. You don't have to show your face. It's anything goes."
But is it? That depends in part on whether you buy from a store or an individual.
By federal law, when buying from a licensed dealer -- in-state or out-of-state, in-person or online -- you are subject to a background check. Purchasing from an online retailer triggers a face-to-face meeting with a licensed local gun dealer and a background check that can be completed over the phone. If passed, the documentation is sent to the online seller who ships the order to the local dealer, where buyers pick up their purchases.