Where to Buy an AK-47 for a Mentally Ill, Abusive Felon This Holiday Season

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.


With legislation to close the gun-show loophole stalled in Congress, Virginia Tech shooting survivor Collin Goddard teamed up with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence to show just how easy it is for anyone to legally buy firearms—even individuals who would otherwise be barred from gun ownership, such as convicted felons or domestic abusers.

While most gun purchases require prospective buyers to submit to a National Instant Check System background check by the FBI, in 33 states proof of residency is all that’s needed to buy firearms from unlicensed private dealers at gun shows. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives estimated that each year some 2,000 to 5,000 gun-shows take place nationwide.

In the video below, Goddard, who was shot four times in the Virgina Tech massacre that left 32 dead, buys firearms in his native Virginia and at gun-shows in Ohio, Minnesota, and Texas with the help of local activists in those states. Wearing a hidden camera, he records the purchase of a weapons cache that includes cheap handgun, a pistol with a silencer, and yes, an AK-47. Goddard and an Ohio resident were even able to obtain the Maadi Egyptian assault rifle without showing any form of ID, as federal law requires.

 

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.