Online black market Silk Road has been in the news lately because the FBI finally busted the site’s leader, who went by the pseudonym Dred Pirate Roberts. While you could find firearms and other weapons on the site for a while, Silk Road ultimately stopped its arms-selling practice to focus on drugs and other illicit activities, switching the weapon sales over to a site called The Armory. Those sites were only accessible through the Tor Browser, difficult to reach by ordinary computer users and unable to be detected by search engines.
Anyone, however, can go to Armslist.com, a website that allows people to post ads marketing their weapons, and users to purchase those arms with few questions asked.
A study conducted by New York City Mayor Bloomberg has discovered instances in which firearms purchased through Armslist have been used to carry out murders. Salon points to the example of Radcliffe Haughton, a Wisconsin native that used Armslist to buy a “Glock handgun that he used the next day to kill [his wife Zina Daniel] and two co-workers before committing suicide.” The study also discovered that those unable to legally purchase weapons due to FBI background checks or other restrictions have used the site in order to more easily obtain a weapon.
“Convicted felons, domestic abusers, and other dangerous people who are legally barred from buying guns can do so online with little more than a phone number or email. As our investigation shows, thousands of criminals and other prohibited purchasers are doing just that,” Mayor Bloomberg said.
The study claims that those unable to obtain weapons are using Armslist as a loophole, and the legality of the transactions is unclear. “One in 30 would-be buyers on Armslist have criminal records that bar them from owning guns. Our findings suggest that tens of thousands of criminals now use the online private sale loophole to acquire illegal guns,” the study reports.