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Private Sale of Firearms Now Banned on Facebook and Instagram

The Express
The first thing about this story that might surprise you is that firearm sale was even allowed on Facebook and Instagram in the first place. You would think that the kind of people liable to purchase guns online would prefer to keep their activity as under-the-radar as possible. 

Not so, in 2014, Facebook was recognised to be the largest online marketplace for guns. Their first response to this was almost immediate, vowing to remove any content within gun sale posts which suggested illegality (like not needing background checks, or selling across state lines without a license). 

That it's taken them this long to ban the sales outright is somewhat unsettling, considering how many gun crimes committed in the United States can be traced back to online purchases. While that might not implicate Facebook specifically, the sheer quantity of firearm dealing going on there tells its own story

With this new change, no peer-to-peer firearm sales will be permitted on the platform, although licensed sellers will still be able to advertise their wares as they please. Facebook features a lot of advertising in its current format, but has no say over advertising regulations, that's still down to national law. It also probably doesn't hurt that, as opposed to personal sales, advertising actually earns Facebook money. 

For as long as firearms have existed as a retail product, it has been argued that advertisement for them should either be restricted or banned outright. Famously, just about the only consumer product which is completely banned from online, television or billboard advertising is cigarettes, something which can still kill you, but a lot more slowly

The NRA have yet to release any kind of comment on this change, but I doubt they will take too much issue with it, any sign that they support the illicit sale or distribution of firearms will make them look even worse than they already do, and that's saying something.

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Private Sale of Firearms Now Banned on Facebook and Instagram Reviewed by Unknown on Monday, February 01, 2016 Rating: 5

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