The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) ended a study late last year designed to determine ease of illegal purchases of firearms on line. Results released on Nov. 21, 2017, indicate that zero of its 72 attempts resulted in a successful transaction on the “Surface Web”—that part of the Internet, like here, that doesn’t run with secondary encryption software to hide identities.
It’s “searchable with standard web search engines,” the report explains. “Furthermore, in 5 of these 72 attempts, the accounts GAO set up were frozen by the websites, which prevented the agents from using the forums and attempting to make a purchase.”
The study was conducted from July 2015 to November 2017. Priority was given to sellers according to the number and quantity of their ads, selection of firearms available and website accessibility. Forum postings were not excluded from consideration. Price range was also a factor and efforts were focused only on transactions that would take place with a private individual.