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MP takes aim at eBay over gun sales

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A Labour MP is to present Home Secretary David Blunkett with a list of handguns that have been made available for sale on internet auction site, eBay, over the last four days.

Steve McCabe, member for Birmingham Hall Green, has called on eBay to pay closer attention to goods for sale on its pages after he was able to buy an air rifle on the auction site last month.

He told the House of Commons: "The other week, it was possible for me to buy a gun from the eBay internet site. The way in which the sellers work is simple. They advertise an empty bag or box. The buyer bids for that bag or box, and when that is done, the seller throws in the gun for free."

"This site is being used to facilitate a trade in illegal weapons" he added later, arguing that eBay is failing to properly police its site. "I want Mr Blunkett to follow this up with his officials so we can look at how the law is implemented, identify the gaps and tighten it up."

eBay says it is "determinedly opposed to gun sales", and points out that its policy exceeds restrictions that exist in law, in that it doesn't allow ammunition, replica firearms, stun guns, legal air guns, firearms components or related items to be sold on the site at all.

However, Linda Mitchell of the Gun Control Network says: "We are appalled that eBay is unable to police its own policy. Encouraging the general public to report prohibited items for removal seems only to ensure that guns are sold before eBay is aware of them."

eBay issued a statement saying that it has not yet seen the list collated by McCabe, but is "meeting with Mr McCabe on 11 November to discuss the issues he has raised and to bring him up to speed on the policies and processes we have in place to protect our users."

Earlier this year, the company was slammed over the availability of stun guns on its site. The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has also warned of growing concerns over the ease of obtaining illegal weapons via the Internet, and says that further works needs to be done in the area. ®

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