Could a private social network for gun shop owners prevent tragedies?
(WGN-TV) Following the mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub last month, one digital entrepreneur asked what could he do to stop it from happening again.
Hundreds of miles away in California, he is putting his skills to use when it comes to gun sales.
Seth Banks is trying to create a private social network for gun dealers, trainers and others connected to the world of guns. He's doing it so dealers can alert other dealers when a suspicious buyer enters a gun shop and is turned away.
Gun Shop Watchlist is his website and soon to be free app connecting gun dealers more easily with one another so when suspicious buyers like Omar Mateen enter a store to buy a gun and more - that dealer can alert others in the area.
Dealers are already doing that on some level. Banks just says his social network would make it easier.
"I'm under no assumption that this could stop everything, but if we could stop a few things, isn't it worth the effort?" Banks said.
His efforts aren't being met with open arms quite yet.
"The old school gun dealers who still manage everything by a printed bound book and keep all records in house, don't want anything online, don't use POS system and want nothing to do with this," Banks said.
But, he claims, more progressive owners are listening.
In the Chicago area, Mandi Sano, owner of the Gun Doctor in Roselle, tells WGN:
In theory, it's (the network) a good idea, but it could be too much of a crutch for dealers to rely upon. My employees are trained to watch and listen for red flags.
A Chicago area dealer who didn't want to be named, said:
We already communicate and share information on straw sales or suspicious persons trying to buy a firearm. That includes video if it helps fellow dealers.
Omar Mateen was turned away at one gun shop in Florida weeks before the shootout at Pulse nightclub. Just days before, he got what he needed to kill dozens of unsuspecting club goers, making it the deadliest mass shooting in u-s history.
Right now, the app is in fact finding phase. Banks is talking to groups to find out what would be useful to them and refining the prototype, testing it to get valuable feedback.
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