After Tuesday’s school shooting in Uvalde, Texas left 19 children and two adults dead, we wondered how difficult it was to order a DDM4V7, one of the two rifles the gunman bought a few days after turning 18 years old, according to reports.
The answer: Five clicks.
The AR-15-style weapon, made by Georgia-based Daniel Defense, sells online for $1,870, plus tax. Shipping to a local gun shop is free.
After clicking “place order” we received an email confirming the purchase, promising to send a tracking number once the gun was on its way to the pickup point.
At no time were we asked for proof of age or of a clean criminal record, both of which are legally required to buy a firearm. That will happen when we pick up the gun at a local licensed dealer.
Aside from that, it was a routine purchase, not unlike ordering a Lego set from Amazon or a pair of shoes from Zappos. Except, of course, for the lethality of the product.
Buying a gun online in Texas
We knew exactly what we wanted, based on a copy of a receipt the gunman shared online that was published by the Daily Dot, an Austin-based outlet that covers online culture. But undecided shoppers can watch a video highlighting the rifle’s features. Weighing just over six pounds, it’s “extremely maneuverable” and “a perfect addition for anybody’s gun safe,” according to the host.
There are also reviews. All 46 for the DDM4V7 gave it five stars, including one that calls it a “terrific weapon.”
Daniel Defense, which was founded by a garage-door business owner in 2000, touts that most of the parts in its guns are made in-house. It’s one of the US’s largest privately owned gun manufacturers, according to Forbes.
Under Texas law, buyers of rifles have to be 18 or older and have no felonies or domestic violence convictions, and the federal government requires a background check. We didn’t get any notices or warnings about that during the checkout process. (Elsewhere on its site, Daniel Defense promises it is “100% compliant, 100% of the time.”)
Texas Gun Experience, the local dealer we selected for pickup, tells shoppers to be ready to show ID and complete a three-page form for the background check, which is done on the spot via an FBI database accessible from the gun shop.
That’s it. We’d ordered a gun. It won’t be delivered at our doorstep, like that Lego set or the pair of shoes, and to take it home we’ll have to fill out paperwork for a background check (in fact, you can’t order it to your home, only to a licensed dealer). Still, the fact that shopping for a firearm does not feel noticeably different than ordering those everyday items is a telling commentary on the prevalence of guns in US culture.