First we’ll start with their “investigation” as described on their own website. They claim to have contracted private investigators to post fake guns for sale ads on Armslist.com and other sites. When contacted by potential buyers, they apparently solicited enough information from them in order to conduct “thorough criminal history research on the identified individuals.” Their “findings” indicate that 1 in 24 online shoppers using “unlicensed sellers” for privates sales are criminals. They compare that 4.1% criminal online shopper rate with the 0.69% background check denial rate to say that criminals shop online 6 TIMES more than at licensed gun dealers. Here’s the catch, SHOPPING does NOT equal BUYING.
Now, to add insult to injury the Vermont Everytown site goes on to list examples of guns for sale by “unlicensed sellers” sorted by county in Vermont. Apparently, the one thing that their contract private investigators did not seem to bother investigating was the fact that many of those sellers are in fact fully licensed and legally compliant dealers. One such dealer whose products where displayed under the “unlicensed sellers” list was Crossfire Arms. It was easy to tell their firearms ads because the images were watermarked with their company logo. I was easily able to identify 6 of their firearms ads featured and the dates listed corresponded to the dates that Crossfire had them listed on Armslist.
I spoke with Bob Richards, owner of Crossfire Arms, who was absolutely livid. His exact words were “We run a legit operation here” and described what Everytown was doing as “one of their filthy propaganda campaigns.” Reputation is paramount in business and to have his products included on a list of firearms for sale by “unlicensed sellers” is both defamatory and completely untrue. Crossfire Arms holds the necessary Federal Firearms License and reiterated, “We are in perfect compliance with the ATF and speak with them frequently. We are required by law to conduct background checks and ALWAYS do.” Crossfire Arms, like many small gun dealers, uses every available avenue of advertising available to them short of an immense advertising budget. That includes online listings like Armslist and even social media, but regardless of the advertising method they must still meet all background check requirements, regulations and state/federal law on each and every sale.
This is a developing story and we will be investigating further to see if this is an isolated incident in Vermont or part of a broader pattern of deceit and misinformation within the Everytown organization as a whole. If you are a small licensed gun dealer who uses online listings and social media to advertise your products, then be sure to watermark your ad images so that they can be easily identified if used in such a deceptive manner as this in Vermont. For those Vermont residents who would like to show their support for their maligned local business, visit Crossfire Arms – Purveyors of Fine Firearms.
UPDATE: Since this article was posted I would like to thank Bob Owens from BearingArms.com for picking up and continuing the investigation which resulted in the Bloomberg group issuing a “correction” to the misinformation they were peddling.
“A previous version of this report incorrectly stated that we identified 1,106 ads posted by unlicensed Vermont sellers offering firearms for sale. We inadvertently included 49 ads posted by licensed dealers in Vermont in this total. This version of the report reflects data based on the updated total of 1,058 gun ads posted by unlicensed sellers, which yields an estimate of 2,926 unlicensed gun sales annually on just three websites in Vermont, including 121 gun sales to felons and domestic abusers.”
BearingArms.com had already blasted the Everytown group for their flawed “investigation” and dubious “findings” and we were proud to be able to add another layer of investigation with the addition of the misidentification of lawful Federally Licensed Dealers being labeled as “unlicensed sellers”. I spoke with Bobby Richards of from Crossfire Arms this evening and he informed me that The Blaze had picked up the story as well which included the “correction” by the group and a potential lawsuit to be filed by Mr. Richards against the gun control group. Due to pending legal action, he could not say much regarding the case, but he did thank me for getting the word out on his behalf. Unfortunately, this is not the first run in Mr. Richards has had with this issue of private sales vs. dealer sales. He was contacted by BuzzFeed in February of last year (almost a year to the day and here we are again) for an interview which was later turned into more of an anti-gun propaganda piece attacking private gun sales just as the Everytown “investigation” sought to do. Mr. Richards reached out to me on that story as well which we were honored to share with our readers.
We work very hard to bring factual and relevant information to our readers and despite our obvious pro-gun rights positions, the integrity of our information is paramount, which is what prompted Mr. Richards to contact me in the first place. Even though we were not credited with breaking the story of Crossfire Arms being misidentified as an unlicensed seller by Everytown, the fact that the information did get out is what is important. We at Cold Dead Hands are proud to have played a part in the exposing of one more in the long series of discrepancies, mischaracterizations and outright falsehoods perpetrated by Michael Bloomberg and his ever-changing anti-gun groups. Both Politifact and Factcheck.org took Everytown for Gun Safety to task last year for repeating their misleading statistics regarding the number of school shooting since the Sandy Hook shootings in Newtown CT.
Jon Britton aka DoubleTap is Chief Operating Officer of CDH, Inc., a regular contributing author and regularly involved in most aspects of their social media. “Writing was never a goal or even vaguely contemplated as a career choice, it just happened, an accidental discovery of a talent and a passion.” A passion that has taken him in many directions from explorations of the zombie subculture and zombie stories to political advocacy. Joining the U.S. Air Force right out of high school, Jon had the opportunity to experience many different parts of the world and different cultures. His post military career path, both white collar and blue collar, allowed him to work alongside both CEOs and average Joes. As a founding member Cold Dead Hands his study of human nature and writing ability found a purpose. His zombie roots provided a variety of issues from prepping to human behavior under crisis to firearms that he applies to his advocacy for gun rights. A ravenous appetite for the study of history combined with his current events political junkie addiction led to him writing an e-book Gun Sense: Past, Present and Future.