For the most part, Facebook has looked the other way when it comes to buying firearms from unlicensed dealers (or so-called private gun sales). All manner of firearms and accessories could be bought on the website if one knew where to look. But Facebook recently decided to put an end to this market after caving to pressure from anti-gun groups.
Retailers and licensed dealers will still be able to advertise firearms, but won’t be allowed to conduct sales over the website, or through Instagram. Private sellers however, won’t be able to advertise or sell at all. Facebook placed restrictions on advertisements in 2014, but largely refused to yield to the demands of anti-gun groups, until now.
Gun control advocates who had criticized Facebook in the past applauded the decision. Shannon Watts of Everytown for Gun Safety, who had called on Facebook to stop private gun sales two years ago, stated that Facebook “Was unfortunately and unwittingly serving as an online platform for dangerous people to get guns.” The President of the Brady Campaign added that “It is simply too easy for virtually anyone to buy any gun they want online without a Brady background check. Facebook just took an important step in addressing that challenge and we call on others to follow suit.”
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