Despite pressure from some gun control groups, Facebook says it won’t take down gun rights pages or restrict the listing of guns for sale.
As previously reported by Off The Grid News, groups such as Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense and Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence had urged Facebook and Instagram to crack down on pro-gun pages and gun listings – a push that led supporters of the Second Amendment to fear they soon would be banned from the popular sites. (Facebook owns Instagram.)
Facebook finally responded, saying it will encourage users to follow the law – but won’t make any dramatic changes. The National Rifle Association applauded the new policy, saying it is happy its users “will continue to have a platform” on the two sites.
“By taking both the First and Second Amendment rights of it users into account with its new policy, Facebook has shown respect not only for our constitutional freedoms but also for its millions of users,” the NRA said.
The new Facebook police says:
- “Any time we receive a report on Facebook about a post promoting the private sale of a commonly regulated item, we will send a message to that person reminding him or her to comply with relevant laws and regulations. We will also limit access to that post to people over the age of 18.
- “We will require Pages that are primarily used by people to promote the private sale of commonly regulated goods or services to include language that clearly reminds people of the importance of understanding and complying with relevant laws and regulations, and limit access to people over the age of 18 or older if required by applicable law.
- “We will provide special in-app education on Instagram for those who search for sales or promotions of firearms.
- “We will not permit people to post offers to sell regulated items that indicate a willingness to evade or help others evade the law. For example, private sellers of firearms in the U.S. will not be permitted to specify ‘no background check required,’ nor can they offer to transact across state lines without a licensed firearms dealer.”
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence criticized Facebook for not going further.
“This new policy is not a victory because Facebook continues to make it too easy for dangerous people to evade a background check when buying guns,” said Daniel Gross, president of the Brady Campaign. “A mere warning to follow the law and community-based reporting will not do enough to prevent unchecked gun sales to dangerous people.”
The NRA said the Brady Campaign’s stance is “grounded in an obvious mistrust of (if not outright disdain for) the millions of ordinary people who populate the online universe.”
“Brady and [Mothers Demand Action] … are eager to stop gun sales anywhere and any way they can, so they pretend that violent criminals are buying guns off the Internet as if they were buying socks or books,” the NRA said. “What they don’t like to admit is that guns are lawful, constitutionally-protected products, and being able to discuss and depict them online is a matter of free speech.”