Study: Gun Buyers Increasingly Looking Online To Avoid Background Checks

A new study by Washington D.C think tank Third Way documents the extensive online marketplace for gun sales and sheds some light to the national gun control debate.

The new survey of online gun sales found “that thousands of guns, including so-called assault weapons, are for sale online and that many prospective buyers were shopping online specifically to avoid background checks.”

Terrifying data in a world that increasingly relies on the internet for commerce. How easy is it to buy a firearm online without a background check? Apparently it’s just click here and a click there.

The study analyzed internet gun sales from 10 states on Armslist, a Craigslist like website but for firearms, during two months. Third Way reported “more than 15,000 guns one-third of which were semi-automatics—available for sale without background checks at any given moment. In two thousand web ads in these states, buyers were intentionally seeking private sellers where background checks are specifically exempt from federal law.”

Comforting to know that while shopping for a belt on Ebay, anyone can just click on over to Armslist and purchase a semi-automatic to match.

Not much has changed since the disappointing (but not surprising) bipartisan failure to expand background checks for gun buyers, a ban on assault weapons and a ban on high-capacity gun magazines. Just a few days ago, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid stated "it will be impossible to enact measures that will expand background checks for gun purchases." Gun control legislation will have to wait until next year with a possible vote before 2014 midterm elections. Reid blamed upcoming budget battles for this major setback.

Lots of lip-service is being offered by Vice-President Joe Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama, and New York Senator Chuck Schumer. The most recent remarks by Schumer promise Democrats are not giving up on the issue. “We're working every day to get the votes for a background check bill and as soon as we have them, we’ll bring it up for a vote,” he said.