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The General Accounting Office (GAO) decided to test one of the more common ideas of the gun control crowd, that it’s easy and quick to buy a gun on the internet, and no background check is required.
The GAO set up a simple test: They would try to buy guns without a background check on the Surface Web (sites like Armslist, Gunbroker, etc) and they would also try to buy guns on the Dark Web (sites that use Tor and other encryption tools to conceal who is buying what).
The Dark Web is notorious for flaunting the rule of law, and the GAO’s attempts to buy guns without disclosing they were legally able to do so was only partially successful.
Agents made seven attempts to purchase firearms on the Dark Web. In these attempts, agents did not disclose any information about whether they were prohibited from possessing a firearm. Of these seven attempts, two on a Dark Web marketplace were successful. Specifically, GAO agents purchased and received an AR-15 rifle and an Uzi that the seller said was modified so that it would fire automatically. GAO provided referral letters to applicable law- enforcement agencies for these purchases to inform any ongoing investigations.
So it turns out that it’s easy to buy a gun illegally on a website that facilitates the buying and selling of illegal items. Who knew?
When it came time to buy guns without background checks from licensed dealers and private citizens who frequent the commonly-available firearms sales sites, things went a little south on them. Not only were they shot down in their attempts to buy a gun, but the accounts they used were shut down as well.
Tests performed on the Surface Web demonstrated that private sellers GAO contacted on gun forums and other classified ads were unwilling to sell a firearm to an individual who appeared to be prohibited from possessing a firearm. Of the 72 attempts agents made to purchase firearms on the Surface Web, 56 sellers refused to complete a transaction: 29 sellers stated they would not ship a firearm and 27 refused after the disclosure of the undercover identities’ stated prohibited status. Furthermore, in 5 of these 72 attempts, the accounts GAO set up were frozen by the websites, which prevented the agents from using the forums and attempting to make a purchase.
The idea that it’s easier to buy a Glock than a book needs to go away. Yes, it’s a powerful persuader that somehow, guns are what’s causing the horrific carnage in our inner cities, but it’s not law-abiding gun owners who are behind what’s going on. Instead, maybe we should look at the idea that the people who are willing to break the law and shoot someone might be willing to break the law in order to get their hands on a gun.
Let’s have more crime control, not more gun control.Published in