How is it possible to write an article about America-sourced guns used by Mexican cartels without mentioning the Mexican military? It’s not…unless your aim is to smear a US online service that connects gun buyers and sellers. VICE News can’t stand the fact that there’s a legal online service that does what platforms like Facebook and Craigslist won’t.
Asked about Armslist and online gun sales in the U.S., Alejandro Celorio, principal legal adviser for Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told VICE News that the country “has one gun store in the entire nation and issues fewer than 50 gun permits per year,” and strict domestic laws “make it virtually impossible for criminals to lawfully obtain guns in Mexico.”
“Gun companies and sellers like Armslist, instead of implementing public safety–related monitoring or disciplining controls on their distribution systems, undermine these stringent Mexican laws, and wreak havoc in Mexican society, by persistently supplying a torrent of guns to the drug cartels,” Celorio said.
Armslist and an attorney who represents the company in civil cases did not respond to requests for comment. The site runs a disclaimer that says: “Always comply with local, state, federal, and international law. ARMSLIST is NEVER involved in transactions between parties.”
Elsewhere on the site, Armslist describes itself as “purely a service provider” that allows sellers to list guns for sale and notes that “it is the sole responsibility of the buyer and seller to conduct safe and legal transactions.”
Armslist was born at a Fourth of July party in 2007, the brainchild of co-founders Jonathan Gibbon and Brian Mancini, then classmates at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Gibbon told the website Human Events in 2010 it was a direct response to Craigslist prohibiting gun sales.
“When I heard them say that they decided to ban all gun-related ads because a few users cried out for it, it inspired me to create a place for law-abiding gun owners to buy and sell online without all of the hassles of auctions and shipping,” Gibbon said.
With a low-tech aesthetic similar to Craigslist’s and a simple user interface, Armslist quickly grew to become one of the most popular sites for gun sellers and buyers. There are glossier competitors, like the site Gunbroker, and local riffs such as Texas Gun Trader, but Armslist is the most ubiquitous and controversial.
— Keegan Hamilton in How the ‘Craigslist of Guns’ Helps Arm Cartels in Mexico
VICE conveniently buries this statement at the and of the article . . .
“Armslist is just a small slice of the pie of the transfer of firearms between individuals,” [ex Oklahoma deputy Don] Horton said. “It facilitates in making it easier perhaps, but it does not facilitate something that wouldn’t happen by some means anyway.”