A growing number of online retailers are accepting orders from Americans who want to buy firearms from overseas.
A few of them, such as GunBroker and GunCrates, have been open to American gun buyers for years, but some have raised concerns about gun safety and the ease of obtaining them.
GunBrokers, for instance, says it can be difficult for Americans to buy ammunition.
“Due to the complexity of the U.S. gun law, the accuracy of ammunition is often uncertain, and it is often impossible to accurately gauge the true bullet weight of a particular projectile,” the company said in a statement.
GunCrate has also said that some American gun purchasers who have registered with it for years have been unable to acquire their firearms.
“We’re not saying that gun buyers should be prohibited from purchasing ammunition,” GunCrating said in its latest statement.
But GunBrokers and GunBroking say the problems of online ammunition sales are a concern for gun owners.
“The gun industry needs to move beyond its current model of selling through private sellers and toward a more regulated and transparent market,” GunBroKers’ CEO said in an email.
“In this instance, we are concerned that this is not the solution.”
GunCargo says it’s also taken a more proactive approach to tracking Americans’ purchases of ammunition online.
“While the industry has historically not taken these steps, we have made a number of changes and improvements over the last year,” the shipping company said.
“To date, we track our customers purchases through our own internal system, using the information we collect from each purchase, including the total number of rounds purchased and their bullet weight.”
So what’s the real problem?
Here are some of the ways online retailers and gun shops are selling ammo online.
How much ammo are they selling?
As with other online retailers, gun dealers typically charge customers for their orders, sometimes with multiple prices.
The U.K. GunShop is a good example of how sellers can sell ammo at low prices.
GunShops have been a popular source of ammunition for gun buyers, according to data from the UK government.
In 2016, the government issued an alert saying that online sellers were selling a wide range of ammunition, including some that were not legally purchased in the country.
The warning came in response to reports of gun dealers selling some ammunition at prices below those found on British black market websites.
A separate government-commissioned study found that some gun dealers had sold ammunition for up to $80 on eBay.
Gun dealers also charge buyers for shipping.
While most sellers charge a flat rate for shipping, some charge a fee based on the total cost of the shipment.
In some cases, such a fee may be as low as $1, according the government report.
That’s the case with GunBroken, which said it charges a fee of $15 for the first shipment.
The fee varies based on which items are being sold and how much ammunition the seller will ship.
But many sellers are selling more than one item.
“These charges are not reflective of the actual amount of ammo sold,” Gunbroker said in the statement.
What should I do if I have questions about online ammunition purchases?
You should consult with a licensed firearms dealer, who can help you verify the seller is licensed to sell ammunition in the United States and whether the ammunition is legal in your jurisdiction.
“Online ammunition sales cannot be made with an ‘online sales’ permit,” GunBrickers’ spokesperson said.
You should also consult a lawyer before ordering ammunition.