Guns

GAO Agents Tried 72 Times, Failed to Buy Guns on the (Normie) Internet

Their attempts on the dark web had a less than 25 percent success rate

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Gregory Wild-Smith/flickr

Government Accountability Office employees posing as sketchy buyers tried and failed in 72 attempts to purchase firearms on the internet, part of a failed investigation called for by a trio of Congressional Democrats.

While the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) insisted in its most recent strategic plan, as cited by the GAO, that "the privacy of the Internet makes it an ideal means for gang members, violent criminals, terrorists, and juveniles to traffic and obtain illegal firearms," the new report released by the (GAO) could not corroborate any of it.

The GAO did not fare much better on the so-called "Dark Web." Agents made 7 attempts and were successful just twice, purchasing an AR-15 and an Uzi.

There's not much in the report for Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) and Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) from which to demand stricter internet gun laws, but it may not stop Democrats from trying to impose new laws anyway.

It's unclear what kind of internet-specific gun laws there could be other than a blanket ban (LOL trying to enforce that) or enhanced sentencing (a dubious legal tool to say the least).

In all, 56 sellers refused to complete the requested transactions; 29 said they wouldn't ship the requested firearms and 27 refused after the agents disclosed they were prohibited from purchasing firearms. One five separate occasions, the GAO trolls were also banned from the websites where they were inquiring about murky purchases.

"The results of our testing are for illustrative purposes only and are not generalizable," the GAO wrote in a letter to the three Congressional Democrats about the results of the report.

The GAO was also asked to assess how ATF was enforcing firearms laws on the internet, since Cummings, Schatz, and Warren say they worry there are no specific laws about firearm sales on the internet. (As the GAO report notes, a bevy of laws on the book apply to firearm sales that happen to be made on the internet)

Nevertheless, the GAO found that ATF does coordinate investigative work on internet sales through an Internet Investigations Center to "ensure they have the necessary training to operate online in an undercover capacity."

According to the GAO, the ATF center, founded in 2012, uses free open-source software "to analyze online content for investigations," claiming that this allowed "analysts to glean information from public websites without violating users' privacy rights."

In any case, the technology that makes all kinds of commerce easier, including firearms-related commerce, isn't going anywhere. So-called e-commerce continues to grow while other technology, like 3D printing, promises to make government attempts to control all kinds of products, including firearms, even harder.

It's a bright future.

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  1. “The results of our testing are for illustrative purposes only and are not generalizable,” the GAO wrote in a letter to the three Congressional Democrats about the results of the report.

    I wonder if this would have been included if they had been successful.

    1. Fuck no, they’d have run with it with specious headlines all over the bullshit news sites.

    2. Of course not. It would have been a definitive study, and ironclad proof that buying guns on the internet can be done by toddlers.

      1. Easier than buying a book, you know.

  2. In any case, the technology that makes all kinds of commerce easier, including firearms-related commerce, isn’t going anywhere. So-called e-commerce continues to grow while other technology, like 3D printing, promises to make government attempts to control all kinds of products, including firearms, even harder.

    It’s a bright future.

    I agree wholeheartedly. I extend it to fully encrypted mesh networks making ISPs almost unnecessary and eliminating censorship. The days of Google and Amazon and Facebook trying to hide guns and nasty speech are numbered.

    1. Excellent observation – thank you!

  3. “part of a failed investigation called for by a trio of Congressional Democrats.”

    How is it that the investigation failed exactly?

    1. It failed to produce evidence of gangbangers buying machine guns, or lone wolf white supremacists getting 50 cal sniper rifles. They only needed one or the other to seed some moral panic. Now they can’t even lie about it. That’s a pretty big fail.

  4. The GAO was also asked to assess how ATF was enforcing firearms laws on the internet, since Cummings, Schatz, and Warren say they worry there are no specific laws about firearm sales on the internet.

    That is complete fucking bullshit. Every gun law in existence covers sales on the internet.

    1. It says there are no specific laws about firearms sales on the internet, not that there are no laws that apply to them.

      To the best of my knowledge, that’s true – no firearms laws in America that I’ve ever heard of (and I’ve looked over e.g. 18 USC 922, the big one, pretty closely) are specific to the internet.

    2. They don’t seem to understand that the internet is nothing but another means of communication. It isn’t some magical world and it doesn’t have Star Trek-style “replicators”.

    3. Just picked up another one today, a Ruger LCP Custom; purchased on Gunbroker [not my favorite site for deals but you can occasionally find one if you stick with it] and delivered via FFL complete with background check and necessary paperwork. But do not doubt a Yahoo, Buzzfeed, Pop-sugar, Vox, Salon, HuffandPuff or similar headline citing “GAO finds ‘significant’ [anything between 1 and infinity] number of guns can be purchased online without background check.”

  5. …but it may not stop Democrats from trying to impose new laws anyway.

    The fact finding mission supports our legislative agenda or it didn’t happen.

  6. part of a failed investigation called for by a trio of Congressional Democrats.

    Edit: part of an investigation called for by a trio of failed Congressional Democrats. Those words got jumbled up a bit.

    How about these useless parasites put the ATF back to work figuring out how the organization fucked up so monumentally on Project Gunrunner?

  7. Normie

    Jesus Ed. Take a break from 4chan for a minute.

  8. TWO GUNS WERE PURCHASED ON THE DARK WEB!!
    RUN!
    This obviously calls for sweeping legislation of common sense regulation of the dark web. Like a complete and total ban.
    Good luck with that.
    Welcome to the revolution.

  9. I’m impressed that the Uzi actually appears to be an SMG!

    It has a three-position selector; there’s a possibility it really is an NFA item, though the report doesn’t confirm or deny its functionality and thus illegality; if it’s a non-functioning replica or DEWAT or the like, it’s perfectly legal because it can’t shoot at all.

  10. However, they were able to buy 72 virgins.

  11. What the hell is the “Dark Web” anyway? Is that where people mime for bit pennies and smoke marijuana cigarettes?

    1. I would pay to see someone miming for Bitcoin.

      1. Would you pay in Bitcoin? If so, I’m sure arrangements could be made with your local mime.

  12. Leftists don’t give a hoot about public safety. So I wondered why leftists saturate media outlets with control instead of confiscation. I assumed they stopped short of the extreme because they know firearms owners won’t tolerate confiscation without unimaginable fury. Fact is leftists will settle for controlling little things like ammunition taxes, license fees, sound suppressors, bullet shapes and on and on.

    Eventually they’ll get around to universal registration again. They need universal registration because it fundamentally transforms a hundred million owners into dependents. Once they know who the owners are, they’ll choose which of them are allowed to be licensed. It’s the consummate entitlement. The democrat party cannot survive without more than half the nation being dependent on the government. Entitlements earn votes for leftists who dispense them.

    When choosing what you want your government to do, it’s important to remember this. Those who carry out mass murders fear armed citizens and it’s precisely why governments always disarm the governed before they purge the disobedient. Taken together all the mass shooting deaths from nuts, felons, terrorists and illegal aliens, throughout history for the entire planet is infinitesimal compared to the total number of civilian citizens murdered by governments. It’s the reason for our 2nd Amendment and throughout human history, it has been a very bad idea to allow any government to disarm its people.

  13. Guns and the internet are one the issues that really irritates me because of all the lies about what is actually possible. Can you “buy” a gun on the internet? yes. However, that does not mean you can take possession of it. As for the statement there are no laws specific to the internet in regard to guns, that is true. Again however, that is because all the other laws on the books already address any possible issues. First, you cannot ship guns through the mail. Any firearm purchased from an internet retailer must be shipped to a FFL in the state where you live. Even if the person is a private seller, it must be shipped to a FFL. If you drive to another state, purchase the gun and drive home, you are engaged in firearms trafficking. A FFL dealer will not let an out of state resident leave with a gun, period. Second, receiving FFL must conduct a background check before releasing the firearm. Fail the background check and no gun. The claims about the ease of buying a gun from an internet retailer is the same as “95% of dealers at gun shows are unlicensed”. What the anti-gun zealots never say is those 95% of dealers are not selling guns. The are selling accessories for guns and a host of other items, none of which requires you to have a license to sell.

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