On his recent trip to New York, Todd Underwood did not pack a gun. This was unusual, the first time in five years that he went anywhere, even to church, without one. Underwood, who is 37 years old and from Kansas City, won’t say how many guns he owns, but “a fucking arsenal” is a fair description.
Underwood wasn’t always a gun guy, he told me, though his father, a factory worker, kept a revolver or two under the bed. His interest really took hold in February 2014, when he was laid up, recovering from quadruple-bypass surgery, with an infant daughter at home. Underwood started browsing the gun-trading sites on Facebook. He already owned some guns, including a Glock model 19, a beginner’s weapon, molded plastic, but soon he “started liking the midrange guns, and then I started to like a particular brand of gun — SIG Sauer — the best gun ever made.” Underwood ultimately developed a taste for bespoke 1911s, which cost as much as $7,000 apiece. When Facebook shut down its gun-trading pages in January 2015, Underwood saw a business opportunity. That’s when he launched United Gun Group: “a social marketplace for the firearms community.”
In May, Underwood drew all kinds of flak for agreeing to let George Zimmerman sell the Kel-Tec PF9 that killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on his site. Underwood defends the decision still. Zimmerman was a “dipshit,” he concedes, but he was acquitted at trial, his gun was legally purchased, and he was licensed. Underwood was able to resell it for $250,000 (all of which, he says, went to Zimmerman). “What would you do?”
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