This is an article from Reuters that talks about a boycott against WalMart in the wake of the recent mass shootings. Many WalMarts sell guns and many consumer groups are calling on WalMart to abandon the firearms market. While ultimately I wish nobody sold guns, I’m more tolerant of WalMart since their gun safety policies are more restrictive than most other firearm retailers.
However, I’m not here to talk about WalMart. Today, I’m here to talk about an internet scourge that allows the illegal sale of firearms without background checks. It’s known as the ‘craigslist of guns’ but it’s better known as Armslist. Armslist is a website where you can place a gun for sale or purchase one from a private seller. Under current federal law, private sellers are not required to do any kind of background checks. This is known as the gun show loophole.
In response to the current spate of mass shootings, this is what Armslist said to Reuters…
Armslist called the shootings “horrific” and said in a statement it is a service that does not directly sell guns, but carries ads and listing for private sales. The other companies did not respond to a request for comment.
So what is the problem with Armslist you may ask? Well, since private sellers are not required to perform background checks, Armslist has been the go-to for many criminals to buy guns. Armslist gun sales have led to the shootings of at least three policemen, one in Boston, one in Chicago, and one in Albuquerque. The officers from Chicago and Albuquerque were both killed.
In another high-profile case, an ex-con who was forbidden from owning a firearm used a gun he bought on Armslist to kill his wife at her job in an act of domestic violence. And these are only the crimes connected to Armslist that I’m aware of. There could be, and probably are, countless more.
Armslist, much like Backpage did, hides behind the antiquated Communications Decency Act of 1996. Again, that’s ancient in internet years. However, the CDA doesn’t need to be amended again to deal with Armslist. If legislators were actually serious in doing something about the ease in which criminals can obtain guns then they would close the gun show loophole.