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Death on the installment plan


Maybe you’ve been wondering how an unemployable 18-year-old was able to afford the retail purchase of two military grade rifles? Well:

In the past, gun companies would sell their products to stores, which then sold the weapons to customers. Now, industry experts say, the manufacturers are increasingly trying to sell guns and accessories online, targeting consumers with slick ad campaigns. (Guns sold online have to be picked up at a licensed firearms dealer, who conducts a background check.)

Daniel Defense also offers a buy-now-pay-later financing option that allows qualified buyers to spread the price — some of its guns retail for more than $1,800 — over a number of payments. The approval takes seconds, the company’s website says.

“They’ve been a brand leader,” said Timothy Lytton, a law professor at Georgia State who studies the gun industry. “They’ve been exceptionally successful at selling the idea that civilians who’d like to own a firearm for self-protection need a high-capacity, semiautomatic weapon.”

The Republican Party line is that to impose age limits or other regulations on firearms sales would be pointless because people could just break the law. First of all, the idea that some 19-year-old incel could easily figure out how to purchase an expensive weapon on the black market without being caught is absurd. Second, people selling guns on the black market are highly unlikely to take credit cards or offer payment plans.

The NRA doesn’t rabidly oppose firearm regulations because they don’t have any effect:

Before the 2000s, most gun makers did not market military-style assault weapons to civilians. At the largest industry trade shows, tactical military gear and guns were cordoned off, away from the general public. That started to change around 2004, industry experts say, with the expiration of the federal assault weapon ban.

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