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Report Shines Light On Nevada’s Online Gun Market

Everytown For Gun Safety

A recent report found that nearly 9 percent of Nevadans shopping online for a gun from an unlicensed seller—a process that doesn’t require a background check—are actually prohibited from owning one. Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick reports.

According to a recent report from Everytown for Gun Safety, a group working to end gun violence, unlicensed gun sellers in Nevada are posting nearly 36,000 unique ads on just four websites every year.

“In total, just these four websites we estimate could put as many as 3,100 guns in the hands of felons and domestic abusers each year.”

That’s study author Ted Alcorn. He says researchers posted their own gun ads on Facebook and a handful of other websites. Then, they checked out the criminal histories of about 200 would-be gun buyers. Turns out, about 1 in 11 of those potential customers were actually prohibited from purchasing firearms.

But not everybody is sold on the findings. Don Turner is with Nevadans for State Gun Rights and he says there’s no way to accurately measure these metrics.

“If it’s a private sale online, how do they know that the data’s accurate?" Turner asks. "There’s nobody monitoring that. So the one in 11, as far as I’m concerned is just a phony number.”

An initiative to require background checks on all unlicensed gun sales in Nevada has been added to the November ballot. Supporters say it will keep guns out of the wrong hands. Opponents say it restricts personal property rights.

Noah Glick is a former content director and host at KUNR Public Radio.
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