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Budrichard, you must have a lot of time available to shop and a lot of money available for gas.

With all due respect, it's simply fallacious to state that a gun auction is "akin to gambling and the firearms for sale are not top quality." Yes, many inferior guns get sold online...just as many inferior guns get sold in face-to-face transactions.

Many of the dealers with whom buyers deal face-to-face also have a thriving business selling their inventory online--either in online classifieds or on auction sites. In fact, in most cases, the revenue from their online sales subsidizes their storefront. I don't think that they are going to treat their online customers or auction winners any differently from the way they treat a customer in their shop--not if they value their reputation. In many respects, the online shopping world has far more robust quality control, customer satisfaction, and verification tools built into it than conventional face-to-face commerce.

Moreover, to state that ""I won" something is not true, you actually paid money plus the % for the auction house and whatever else" ignores the fact that any seller's overhead is always built into the price of his product. Do you think that you are somehow not paying for the privilege of standing in a dealer's shop when you insist on buying only in a face-to-face setting? Or that the 8.25% sales tax one must pay for any gun purchased within my state doesn't make an out-of-state, and often online, purchase much more attractive? The overhead of running a conventional shop is far greater for dealers than the fees charged by most online auction or sales sites. I'll gladly accept the responsibility and risk of an online sale if the savings will justify it.

Finally, when you state that "I don't use or look at auction sites," how can you substantiate your negative view of them as anything more than a product of just naivete or ignorance? Internet gun sales and auction sites are thriving precisely because many buyers have found that there are not, in fact, "enough good quality guns around" within easy driving distance of where they live. The Internet gives them instant access to far more guns than they'll ever have the time or money to buy, and most are, in fact, "sold by reputable dealers."

In short, Budrichard, the Internet has opened up the marketplace for almost any commodity--including firearms--in a way that has improved selection exponentially and cut overhead significantly. Yes, there are inherent risks in buying any item online, just as there are inherent risks in buying in a face-to-face encounter. The solution is learning how to become a saavy shopper in a new, bigger, lower-cost marketplace.
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