• 10.23.13

Look At All These Guns People Are Selling On Instagram

Most people use Instagram to share cute baby photos or pictures of cupcakes. But it’s being used for a potentially more nefarious purpose: amateur gun sales in a totally unregulated market.

If you’re social-media savvy and in the market for a gun, here’s the perfect, completely unregulated market just for you: Instagram. A simple search on the service using a hashtag like “forsale” will surface a host of “semi-anonymous private and professional dealers” advertising and peddling firearms, as The Daily Beast reports. It mostly works like Craigslist. “Asking $3000 for everything,” a seller might say, eliciting bids right under the photo, until the conversation eventually travels elsewhere to complete the deal.


Except on Craigslist, none of that would be permitted under its policy against arms dealing; on Instagram, it is. Since the main purpose of Instagram is to enhance photos of babies and food, the photo app doesn’t have any implicit weapons-sales policies. Without an official policy from Instagram, selling guns online is “complicated,” but not necessarily illegal, says The Daily Beast.

Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s a good way to buy or sell a gun. “We are definitely concerned about the public safety implications of unregulated online gun sales, primarily the ability of sellers to skirt background checks and trafficking in firearms–both legal and illegal guns–to prohibited persons,” Sam Hoover, a staff attorney with the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence told The Daily Beast.

About the author

Rebecca Greenfield is a former Fast Company staff writer. She was previously a staff writer at The Atlantic Wire, where she focused on technology news.