Mother Jones: OMG! Gun Sales! On Reddit! OMG!

We called it. Mother Jones just published their story about gun sales on Reddit, and the entire “scoop” boils down to a couple snarky quotes from TTAG contributor FirearmConcierge and a heaping helping of the same thoroughly debunked anti-gun propaganda that we’ve seen time and time again. Hoary old gems like “40% of sales happen without a background check” (despite that being from 1994 before NICS was even in place). I love that we even correctly identified the quote from FC that they used. As for the meat and potatoes of the article, plan on going hungry . . .

There was no smoking gun of a transaction on Reddit that was illegal. There was no story about a crime committed with a gun bought via Reddit. There wasn’t even a sob story about someone committing suicide with a gun purchased through Reddit. And that’s because there’s no proof that Reddit’s community of gun owners are anything but law abiding individuals with admittedly strange nocturnal habits. So instead of running an article that describes the horror of legal gun sales online, it’s just more complaining about legal transactions and possible terms of service violations. It reads like a blog post about Colorado’s recent legalization of pot written by someone who hates weed.

I was planning on doing a point-by-point rebuttal, but there’s nothing there to argue against. The article was hoping to be a shot across Reddit’s bow, but it’s nothing but a damp squib. I’d love to take some credit for that, but I think the complete and total lack of any supporting evidence for their position did all the heavy lifting. This comment from under the MJ article pretty much sums up my opinion:

[…] the only story here is how Mother Jones takes any site where people buy and sell items, and tries to blacklist that site if people post guns for sale. As everyone knows by now, this is just another advertising medium, subject to the same laws as a want ad or newspaper classified.

Please let us know when there is an actual story.


  1. avatar peirsonb says:

    I’ve said it before, it doesn’t matter where or when that 40% came from. Because there is absolutely no way they can know that information. I bought my first shotgun from a co worker out of his trunk, perfectly legally. I sold that shotgun to a friend, perfectly legally. No background check or receipt of any kind for either transaction. There simply isn’t any data for anyone to pull a stat from.

    1. avatar Dirk Diggler says:

      The “stat” came from a supposed DOJ survey of a limited number (like 400) of criminals pre-NICS. Maybe it was legit. then. but.. . . given there is NICS, which changed the landcape for buying/selling thru FFL’s, maybe it is me, but since the DOJ has a ton of our $$ to spend, I am curious why they have not conducted a real survey to bring their stats into 21st century, unless.. . . they have already done so and buried it b/c the results don’t jibe with their desired facts?

      1. avatar peirsonb says:

        I get the original survey, but as an engineer I’m a big fan of drawing statistics out of actual data. And in this case especially there simply isn’t any hard data to draw from because at least part of what they claim is true: there aren’t any records of the sales.

      2. avatar tdiinva says:

        It was actually only 250 or so people and the number of sales without a background check was less than 40%. The antis got to 40% by adding up all the do not know responses to the self identified sales without a background check. Not all of those who said they didn’t have a background check were right. Back then you might not even be told that you had a background check. The 40% number became a self referential number whose origins were lost in time until John Lott went back and looked it up.

        1. It wasn’t even the amount of sales without a background check, it was a matter of the number of buys from a licensed dealer were 60%, thus the number that were without a background check must be the remainder.

          Even the liberal debunks the number: (lots of links)

          The left-wing, gun-hating, politifact gives it a ‘half-true’ (for no good reason) but otherwise debunk it:

    2. avatar Jeff says:

      yeah, I’ve said the same for a long time.

      how can you extrapolate a figure from a transaction that is not documented? it’s literally impossible to know how many firearms are privately sold, or how many are traded in criminal black markets between felons.

      therefore, any figure is purely speculation.

      based on this practice, I would estimate that 40% of all anti-gun politicians prefer to wipe their anus back to front, rather than front to back.

      1. avatar WRH says:

        I would guess that they don’t wipe at all. When so much shit comes out of their mouths, I doubt they’d notice the stench from their anuses.

    3. avatar David Hollenshead says:

      Private gun transactions have been informal since most involve two people who are related or know each other. I.E. your dad gave you your first 22, or you sold a shotgun or rifle to a friend. This was not a big deal since most people acted responsibly and would not sell or give a weapon to the wrong type of person.

      The problem that is trying to highlight is the less responsible sellers, but they failed to connect that with the activity on reddit. While there are gun dealers in Arizona and Texas that will sell 3 AR15s to a young male knowing they will be in the hands of the Mexican Cartels members within a week. But do they use reddit or any other internet site? Sound doubtful given the severity of knowingly selling to a criminal, or criminal organization.

    4. avatar Excedrine says:

      Not only did that pull that “40%” state completely out of their fucking powdered asses, but even WaPo calls bullshit. Observe:

      Thank you for your time.

  2. avatar SelousX says:

    …and the anti-gunners continue to whine and hand-wring…

  3. avatar NYC2AZ says:

    Another pile of trash from MJ. Now we just have to wait 15 minutes for the obligatory “BREAKING NEWS” story from CNN.

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      And the MSNBC “Investigative Report.”

  4. avatar Paul G says:

    Background checks for voting rights!!! Nothing in the constitution keeps it from being legal.

    1. avatar Tommy says:

      Using the names of the deceased in order to vote IS illegal, but that doesn’t stop them from voting for a particular political party.

  5. avatar 505markf says:

    Reading the Mother Jones piece, I could almost feel the vibratory joy of the writer(s) as they exposed that gun stuff happens on Reddit. I do (almost) feel sorry for the MJ staff. They are missing all the joys of being a free person. It’s sort of cool to stand on your own two feet (well, one in my case). Oh, well. There’s always room in any Republic for lapdogs.

    Keep up the good work, Mother Jones. I think you should have stuck with marijuana brownie recipes, over-indulgence therapies, and tips for making bread with sprouted grains.

    1. avatar Jeff says:

      I agree. It worked out well for Mother Jones’ sister, Aunt Jemima.

      P.S. what the hell kind of name for a publication is “Mother Jones” any way?

      1. avatar Jack Brown says:

        It’s named for Mary “Mother” Jones, a turn of the century labor agitator.

        1. avatar Chris says:

          Mother Jones was also against abortion and women’s suffrage.

    2. avatar Duke of Sharon says:

      The story reminds me of being in the fifth grade on a 30 below day and having one of the “cool” kids point at me and laugh “look, he’s wearin’ snow pants!”

      It’s almost as if by repeatedly pointing out gun transactions and gun ownership, they are trying to establish that it they are remarkable, and weird.

  6. avatar Venator Magnus says:

    I guess it all comes down to how Mother Jones’ “journalists” define the word “illegal.” It seems to me that they’re conflating it with something that is, in some cases, extralegal — or happening without government oversight — which doesn’t mean any laws are being broken.

    Looking forward to Mother Jones’ next column talking about how all verbal communication online should be pre-screened by the Thought Police to ensure that no c̶o̶n̶s̶e̶r̶v̶a̶t̶i̶v̶e̶/̶l̶i̶b̶e̶r̶t̶a̶r̶i̶a̶n̶ ̶ “illegal” opinions or comments are shared.

    Keep in mind folks, these are the same people that want to Jim Crow the entire process of firearm procurement.

    1. avatar Jeff says:

      because it’s “illegal” in a handful of major cities and well-known northeastern states, therefore it is “illegal” everywhere else in the country.

      we can call it “the Bloomberg effect” – make something illegal in your own little sandbox, and then use its unique status there to define it as illegal everywhere outside of the sandbox, regardless of actual law.

  7. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

    For the Texas residents that wish to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights while engaging in local commerce and abiding all local, state, and federal laws. 🙂

    1. avatar TheBear says:

      I sold my FiveSeven on that site. Good stuff.

      The guy I sold to had a TX CCL. No biggie.

      1. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

        He went through a background check, finger printing and the state mandated class to obtain that CHL.

        That’s more than is required to purchase a weapon from an FFL.


    2. avatar Semper Why says: is our local version. Quite the effective site, IMHO.

    3. avatar Russ says: for GA.

  8. avatar Jeff says:

    FirearmConcierge is a ginormous douchebag who really does a lot of disservice to the online gun community.

    Thanks a lot for the choice quotes ready-made for outfits like Mother Jones, you jerkwad.

  9. avatar Unknown Prosecutor says:

    I love how the comments section has been peppered with Colt 6920’s for sale…

  10. avatar Ralph says:

    FirearmsConcierge is the James Yeager of FFLs.

    1. avatar Observer says:

      This. +10

      Not that MJ would paint him in a good light, but FC posted more than enough asshattery to do their own work for them. Bet he gets some ATF attention soon.

    2. avatar Michael B. says:


    3. avatar rawmade says:

      I mean, its his right to be a huge douche, but he literally says shit to make people think we do exactly what they are afraid we do, just to be a douche.
      He doesnt care that he makes us look bad and gives fuel to the moron publications, because its his right as a douche.
      The guy thrives off being seen as a giant asshat, to anti gunners and pro gunners alike.
      Im all for his right to say the stupid shit he does,I just dont want to be associated with him in any way, and I dont know why TTAG does as a (imo) pinnacle gun blog

  11. avatar Werewolf1021 says:

    Where are those comments? I dont see anything on the article.

  12. avatar grayson says:

    I thought the comments about the upvote downvote safeties were funny. If they colored it like the rest of the engraving it wouldn’t be an issue. I thought it was clever.

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