“Cabela’s Inc. on Monday became the largest online retailer to sell guns online,” internetretailer.com reports. “The sporting goods retailer, No. 61 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, on Monday began selling handguns and long guns on Cabelas.com.” Alert the antis! The “Internet Loophole” has suddenly grown to black hole proportions! Oh wait . . .
Customers can have the order shipped to a Cabela’s store where they can pick it up for free after going through the proper screening process. Previously, consumers could purchase ammunition online as long as it complied with the laws of the state to which it was being shipped, but could only purchase firearms in a store.
So a consumer who buys a gun from Cabela’s online has to go to the store, find a clerk, find a clerk who knows anything about the store’s internet sales, wait for the clerk to find the online order, wait for the clerk to find the gun ordered online in the stockroom, fill out a Form 4473 and undergo an FBI criminal background check.
That last bit means Cabela’s and similar online firearms retail operations are not a “loophole” allowing known criminals to purchase guns from the comfort of their smart phone. A point internetretailer.com goes to great pains to explain.
Transactions that occur via Cabelas.com and other retailers’ sites are not part of the so-called “gun show loophole,” which extends online. That loophole enables private hobbyists and others to sell guns without a dealer’s license in many states. A consumer can then purchase a gun online from someone online who does not have or need a license—via a peer-to-peer listing websites and auction sites where buyers and sellers can meet and negotiate a price—because the buyer does not need to undergo a background check in most states.
That private sale without a background check thing? That’s a feature not a bug. Anyway, you might be wondering what advantage Cabela’s online gun purchase system offers consumers?
The buy online, pickup in-store service “gives Cabela’s customers access to the company’s online selection of new handguns and long guns, and ensures better firearms availability, while enhancing a seamless customer experience,” the retailer said in a release announcing the program. Cabela’s did not immediately return a request for comment regarding the policy change.
Snark aside, credit to Cabela’s for understanding and accommodating the fact that the gun purchase process ain’t what it used to be. It starts here and ends there.