Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY
A web of semi-anonymous private and professional gun dealers is regularly advertising, negotiating and selling firearms by posting their wares on Instagram, then concluding the deals through private communication channels, The Daily Beast reports.
Because Instagram, which was recently bought by Facebook, is primarily a popular site to post photos and is not a commerce site like Craigslist, it has no stated policy banning the sale of firearms, The Daily Beast online news site says.
Instead, sellers display their wares - from antique guns to high-powered assault rifles - in photos, along with details, asking price and any additional equipment or ammunition that is available.
Federal laws generally don't cover private sales of firearms between individuals, while state laws vary widely and are hard to enforce.
"These are handguns, shotguns, assault rifles, and everything in between being sold in an open, pseudo-anonymous online marketplace," Brian Ries writes on The Daily Beast. "With no federal law banning online sales and differing, loophole-ridden state laws, many gun control advocates are concerned about the public safety consequences of this unregulated market."
The Daily Beast says that a Brooklyn rapper who sold guns on Instagram - and bragged about it - was arrested in August in what New York City officials called their largest firearms bust ever, netting more than 250 guns and 19 indictments.