Facebook announced that it will be banning its users from arranging private gun sales over both the main Facebook site and its photo-sharing site Instagram.
While these new rules do not apply to licensed gun dealers, who can still post with the stipulation that they do not conduct purchases on the site, it does apply to private one-on-one sales that do not require background checks in many states.
What is very important is that the move covers gun parts and ammunition as well. The banning of ammunition sales is obviously effective since without massive amounts of bullets you can’t have massive amounts of gun violence. The fact it applies to gun parts is significant as well. Federal law doesn’t currently cover some gun parts, like an “unfinished lower receiver.” They are treated as “not a gun” if they are 80 percent or less complete. This allows them to be sold without serial numbers or background checks. If you provide the parts to someone who is experienced enough to complete them, you basically have what will make an untraceable gun. Afterward, they can be assembled with other parts into a fully functional firearm. Some websites even sell the machines to complete receivers and boast about the fact you can build unserialized firearms legally in your own home.
Facebook’s status as a non-governmental entity gives it more control over what it can allow on its network. It simply doesn’t matter if a person’s slightly unfinished gun parts are legal to sell to anyone without background checks. Facebook can restrict whatever they want, just like they do with marijuana, pharmaceuticals or other illegal material. This helps tremendously in curbing the ways federal law has failed us.
Facebook’s head of product policy, Monika Bickert, said “Over the last two years, more and more people have been using Facebook to discover products and to buy and sell things to one another. We are continuing to develop, test and launch new products to make this experience even better for people and are updating our regulated goods policies to reflect this evolution.”
Do you think that any Republicans will be boycotting Facebook now? What will their alternative be?
featured image via wikicommons