New Study Finds Background Check-Free Online Gun Market is Booming

| by Dabney Bailey
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Third Way, a centrist think tank group that has ties to the Obama administration, recently published a study revealing that online sales might be an even larger loophole than the one at gun shows.

The study focused on, a website that allows private citizens to post advertisements for firearms, kind of like a Second Amendment version of Craigslist. From there, the researchers set their sights on 10 states where senators voted against the recent background check compromise.

About 15,000 guns were on sale in those 10 states. Nearly 2,000 ads were from would-be buyers in search of sellers who would specifically agree to avoid a background check.

Background checks are mandatory in gun stores, but private sellers and gun show sellers can get around that restriction. Congress recently tried to close the gun show loophole and failed. According to this study, Congress might have missed the mark by targeting the smaller of the two problems.

“At this point, this is the biggest loophole in the background check system,” said Lanae Erickson Hatalsky, the director of social policy at the think tank. "Nobody’s monitoring this. Nobody has any ability to stop these people who are looking for private sellers — and the only reason to do that is to evade the background check system.”

Even if legislators did manage to close the online background check loophole, it would undoubtedly cause some gun sellers to continue their practices but using more covert methods. Other things on the Internet are illegal, such as child pornography, but the instant transmission of information and relative anonymity of the web allows some criminals to get away with their crimes.

Do you think that Congress should try to close this online gun sale loophole, or will that just add more unnecessary red tape that people will mostly ignore anyway?

Source: Washington Post