The Sharing Economy Comes to Illegal Handguns

Walther P99.

Wikimedia Commons


First ZipCar then AirBNB and now shared guns:

Waka Flocka is the name of a rapper. But to these men, the phrase described something else.

The community gun.

Hidden and shared by a small group of people who use them when needed, and are always sure to return them, such guns appear to be rising in number in New York, according to the police. It is unclear why. The economy? Times are tough—not everyone can afford a gun. “The gangs are younger, and their resources are less,” said Ed Talty, an assistant district attorney in the Bronx.

The underlying logic in all cases seems fairly clear. American households are somewhat over-endowed with material goods relative to what one can actually make use of in a given week. So organizational and information exchange innovations are rewarded.