Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Opinion
Leonid Bershidsky

How the U.S. Helps Europeans Buy Guns

Thanks to trade on the dark web, lax U.S. laws inevitably become Europe's problem.
Destination, Europe?

Destination, Europe?

Photographer: Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

The permissiveness of U.S. gun laws is not just a domestic problem. Judging from a new study of internet gun sales, it's also making the country a source of illicit weapons in Europe.

Following reports that guns for the 2016 Munich shootings and the 2015 Paris terror attacks were purchased on the vast, hidden part of the internet known as the dark web, the Rand Corporation received a commission for the first empirical study of the illegal online weapons trade. Led by Giacomo Persi Paoli, who had previously studied small arms trafficking for the United Nations, the Rand team spent a week in September 2016 observing the activity of 52 unique arms vendors operating on 15 online markets.