Spend enough time on Reddit and you’ll discover all sorts of niches to fall into. There are like minded people who love spinning their own yarn, they love things that are mildly interesting, and they’re part of an engaged gun community. Some are worried that Reddit is becoming an unregulated marketplace, where shady dealings are happening, especially when it comes to guns.
Unlike the eBay and Paypal dynamic, Reddit isn’t set up for commerce in the way that a lot of other services are. There are no real tools for raising disputes, there are no guarantees, and no recourse if your transaction doesn’t turn out the way you want it to. But as with any forum, private or public, people will trade items and objects the same way they trade tips and tricks.
“A federally licensed dealer could sell a firearm from his collection without conducting a background check,” former ATF agent David Chipman said to Mother Jones. Likewise, Reddit user and firearm dealer, “FirearmConcierge” said in January “There are plenty of dealers out there who make sales without doing background checks.”
Other sites and marketplaces like eBay, Craigslist and Amazon have banned users from selling firearms, but Reddit has been more hands off. According to Reddit Communications Director Victoria Taylor, “Reddit neither condones nor does not condone the buying and selling of firearms through the site, as long as users are not using the site to violate applicable US laws.”
But since Reddit is just a forum, the site has no way to verify legality without possibly trampling on users anonymity — and that anonymity is prized by the Reddit community.
There are many subreddits that serve as classifieds where users can buy, sell and trade various wares. On r/trade you can buy and sell toons for the MMORPG World of Warcraft. r/ecigclassifieds lets you trade and purchase devices and nicotine liquid, which is banned in Canada. Reddit gets nothing from these trades, or the trade and sale of guns. Subreddits don’t sell guns; people sell guns.
Image credit: M Glasgow