As the gun market comes under fresh scrutiny after recent mass shootings, one company's "buy now, pay later" model for online purchases has attracted critics for making guns more accessible to young shoppers who don't have much disposable income or credit cards, the New York Times reports. That company, Credova, drew attention recently because it offers financing plans to customers of Daniel Defense, the manufacturer of the AR-15-style rifle used by the Uvalde, Texas, school attacker, although Credova officials have said their company did not finance that gunman's purchase.
Founded in 2018 in Bozeman, Mont., Credova took an increasingly common pitch to online consumers — to buy products in small increments — and applied it to outdoor recreation gear, including guns. Most big "buy now, pay later" companies don't finance purchases of weapons, but Credova has worked with dozens of online gun merchants to make guns, which generally cost anywhere from $200 to $900, more affordable. It has teamed up with the National Rifle Association on at least two occasions to promote itself. A Credova lawyer told the Times the company "plays a very small role in the legal firearm purchase ecosystem by representing less than one-tenth of 1 percent of financing firearm purchases." Adam Skaggs, chief counsel and policy director for Giffords Law Center, a gun violence prevention advocacy group, said one way the scheme could be abused is by allowing people looking to quickly resell a gun for a profit to do so without putting a lot of money down upfront. Although online sales comprise a small portion of the $15 billion gun market, according to IBISWorld, a market research firm, they have been growing. IBISWorld predicts online gun sales will reach $2.6 billion by 2026, up from $532 million in 2012. Other firms have joined Credova in this niche, including Gearfire Capital, with the motto "Gear Up, Pay Later."