Under intense pressure from gun control groups, Facebook has banned the private sale of firearms on its site, and its sister site, Instagram.
On Friday, the firm changed its policy regarding firearms, completely banning any peer-to-peer firearms sales on its network. That means users can no longer offer or coordinate the private sale of firearms on the site. This policy also applies to the sale of gun parts and ammunition, said a Facebook spokeswoman.
Guns.com reports. “The ban applies to private, person-to-person sales of guns, but posts by licensed gun dealers are okay. Facebook already prohibits unauthorized dealers to purchase, sell, or trade prescription drugs, illegal drugs, or marijuana.”
In an announcement today, Facebook disclosed: “Today we are updating our policies for managing regulated goods to prohibit people from using Facebook to offer and coordinate private sales of firearms. This policy already prohibits people from offering marijuana, pharmaceuticals, and illegal drugs for sale,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to BuzzFeed News. “This policy update focuses on private or ‘peer-to-peer’ sales of weapons, not weapons that are being sold in stores or off Facebook through online, licensed retailers.”
Licensed firearm retailers can continue to promote their business on Facebook and Instagram but the transactions will have to occur elsewhere.
Previously, Facebook’s terms of service stipulated that, “Ads and Sponsored Stories may not promote firearms, ammunition, paintball guns, bb guns, fireworks, explosives, pepper spray, knives, tasers, or weapons of any kind, including those used for self-defense. Ads and Sponsored Stories may not directly or indirectly link to landing pages where users can purchase any of these products.”
Gun control advocates are happy.
“American moms are gratified that Facebook and Instagram have agreed to take meaningful steps to prevent illegal gun sales to children and dangerous people on its platforms,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, in a statement to CBS News.
“We are happy that these companies listened to American mothers and we believe these changes are a major step toward making sure people who buy or sell guns on their platforms know the law, and follow it.”
So Facebook has made its stand. Are they making our society safer or are they eroding our safety?
Sadly, only time will tell.