2:15 pm Oct. 23, 20121
Wisconsin day spa shooter Radcliffe Haughton bought the weapon he used to kill his wife and two others from a website previously targeted by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, according to Bloomberg, whose spokesman cited law enforcement sources involved in the investigation.
On Saturday, the day before a former car salesman walked into the Brookfield spa and killed his wife Zina and two other women, he bought a .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun from a private seller, according to the according to the Evansville Courier & Press.
Three other victims remain were still hospitalized, as of Monday.
On the Thursday before he bought the gun, Zina Haughton took out a restraining order on her husband.
Today, following his announcement that a hedge fund billionaire would donate $100 million to the Central Park Conservancy, the Bloomberg read a prepared statement about the Wisconsin murders.
"This is the second shooting spree in Wisconsin in recent months, and still Washington and both our presidential candidates look the other way," he said, referring to the recent shooting at a Sikh temple, also outside Milwaukee. "In this case, we've recently learned that the shooter's wife, who was shot and killed, had gotten a restraining order against the shooter. That did not however stop him from simply going online and buying a gun. In fact, he bought the gun through one of the websites we had targeted for investigation, armslist.com. Now, federal law ... prohibits this man from buying a gun, but loopholes in the law make buying a gun without a background check as easy as turning on a computer."
"In the last 100 days alone, we found more than 13,000 unique gun listings on armslist alone," he continued. "And that's just one website. And there's bunches of them. Now, how can any elected official say that the broken background check system works?"
Bloomberg routinely crusades for better gun controls at the national level. To that end, he's co-founded and underwritten Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and recently formed a super PAC dedicated to supporting candidates who agree with him on gun control, same-sex marriage or education reform.
(The mayor recently said this super PAC effort is merely a test-run for what he might do when he leaves City Hall.)
In December, shortly after New York Police Department officer Peter Figoski was shot dead, the mayor unveiled the findings of an investigation into private online gun sales.
Private sellers using sites like armslist.com don't have to conduct background checks, though they are not allowed to sell guns to people they believe might not be able to pass one.
The 15 private investigators hired by Bloomberg reported that in 77 of the 125 instances in which they tried to buy guns online, while also admitting to the seller that they might not be able to pass a background check, the sellers sold the guns to them anyway.
Among the arms acquired was a $650 Ruger Mini-14 assault rifle via Armslist.com.
There was no immediate response to a request for comment sent this afternoon to Armslist.com.
"Our political system has failed Mrs. Haughton and the other victims," said the mayor today. "We can't bring her back. But to sit here and to not acknowledge the fact that if the president and congress had fixed our flawed system of background checks, or if the other candidate for office doesn't promise to do so, this is gonna happen again and again and it could happen to any of our families."