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Internet Fast Becoming Virtual Gun Shop

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The Internet has become a virtual gun shop for assault weapons.

Guns like the AK-47 and the Chinese SKS are legal in the United States, even though legislation prevents future imports. Legitimate online dealers buy and sell pistols, semi-automatic rifles, even machine guns. Strict federal guidelines must be followed.

The guns must be shipped to a person with a federal firearms license issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The buyer must also pass all background checks and personally receive the gun. eBay used to allow these types of guns in their auctions. Now, only parts and kits are allowed.

Hundreds of guns can no longer be imported. Items include: pistols, shotguns and semi-automatic handguns. The popular and cheap Chinese SKS is not banned because it holds its 10 rounds of ammunition inside. However, clips have been designed that give the gun extra capacity.

Most online gun shops operate within the law. Those that do not could lose their license. Guns have been bought and sold on Internet bulletin boards, though, and delivered illegally.