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Connect, buy-now, fire: how the dark web allows criminals to buy weapons—anonymously

One teenager who was planning an attack on Newcastle city centre said getting a gun was as easy as "buying a chocolate bar"

By Giacomo Persi Paoli  

Weapons seized by West Midlands police. Photo: West Midlands Police/Prospect composite

Before 22 July 2016, when an 18-year-old shot and killed nine people at the Olympia Shopping Centre in Munich, many people may not have imagined that firearms and ammunition could be so easily purchased illegally on the so-called dark web. In fact, many people might not have been aware of this global underground network where weapons are illegally bought and sold anonymously with the click of a mouse.

The majority of dark web firearms come from the US and the…

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