Reddit Has a Burgeoning Gun Market and Its Sales Numbers Are Shocking

Illustration for article titled Reddit Has a Burgeoning Gun Market and Its Sales Numbers Are Shocking

Reddit's great for many things: funny pictures, interesting factoids, revealing crowd-sourced interviews. Also, assault rifles. Mother Jones just published an unnerving investigation into the little known gun market tucked into the GunsForSale subreddit, and the numbers are disturbing.

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According to the magazine's research, the site has hosted at least 159 transactions since last June, nearly 100 of which included the sale of AR-15 assault rifles. The exact number of guns sold on Reddit is unclear since even more transactions take place in private messages, but it's likely in the several hundreds in the past six months. Even if just one gun was sold in each of those 159 documented transactions, that's nearly a gun a day being sold on Reddit.

It gets worse. It's not just the fact that people are selling guns on Reddit that's disturbing. It's how they're doing it. For one, there's reason to believe that guns are being sold illegally and without background checks. Since much of Reddit is anonymous, it's easy to see how unlicensed sellers could fly under the radar. At the very least, Reddit's infrastructure (and a legal loophole) allows guns to be sold without background checks.

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These sellers aren't exactly swell guys either. Mother Jones identifies one Reddit gun seller, Firearm Concierge, who posted 268 listings on GunsForSale in the second half of last year. He also sent this tweet.

What a guy.

It's definitely worth checking out the specific details of Reddit's gun market on Mother Jones's website. The part about how Condé Nast sanctioned the licensing of the Reddit logo to be applied to AR-15 rifles is particularly disconcerting. [Mother Jones]

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Illustration for article titled Reddit Has a Burgeoning Gun Market and Its Sales Numbers Are Shocking

Images via Reddit / Mother Jones

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DISCUSSION

MAKE2 Mifune

Why would there be any reason to believe they are sold illegally? Browsing the subreddit, it appears that a lot of the long arms and shotguns for sale don't require an FFL or DROS to transfer and the arms that do, they're handling the transfer legally, with an FFL holder to document and perform the requisite checks. Just because sellers are hooking up with buyers doesn't mean they're not doing the transaction at a dealer.

That tweet by Firearm Concierge, while tactless, is a snarky jab at how school shootings drive up gun sales, as a result of calls for gun control by the media and lawmakers. The joke is that Obama and the gun control lobby have been the biggest movers of firearms, due to people being scared of lawmakers taking away their weapons. It's a poor joke.