Being able to arrange the buying or selling of a firearm through Facebook is now prohibited, without the proper dealer licenses. Additionally using Facebook’s Instagram feature to display guns with the intentions making of a firearm transaction is also prohibited. This ban involves the actions of two private civilians from carrying out a gun selling / buying deal.
The popular social media forum has already barred the discussion of illicit drug and pharmaceuticals. According to Facebook, this policy now includes guns, effective January 29, 2016. Facebook will still permit licensed gun dealers and clubs to carry on using Facebook and Instagram as a platform to promote their organizations. It is important to point out that Facebook has never supported firearms actually being bought or sold on their site.
Up until recently Facebook has provided a forum for the free-speech discussion of all subjects, including terrorism and guns. Facebook has some 1.6 billion people that traffic through its channels every month, and has become the world’s largest forum for gun talk. The decision to enact this ban of firearm transactions has forced Facebook into one of the most polarized debates in the twenty-first century. Terrorism, both domestic and abroad, has given birth to a viscous gun debate in the United States.
On one side of the debate, there are those who desire to strip Americans completely of their right to bear arms. On the other side, there are the second amendment activist who work hard to preserve American’s rights to sell, possess, carry, and utilize firearms. President Barak Obama continues to show his lack of respect and approval towards the country’s historic second amendment rights. Gun reform policies, such as this, come in the wake of President Obama’s executive order requiring background checks for every firearm transaction, even the private buying of selling of a gun between neighbors.
The officials at Facebook say they will “take on good faith” that their trusted users will honestly report any person or persons violating the new rules prohibiting unlicensed firearms “discussion”. According to Facebook, the only viable penalty that they can inforce, is deleting the individual(s) account that is found to have disobeyed the newfound regulations. However, Facebook officials have said if they feel someone’s in danger based on what they have read they will cooperate with the local law enforcement to ensure the safety of its users.
Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, told Facebook officials in a meeting, “What they’re doing is sending such an incredibly strong, sentinel signal to the world that America is working in the right direction on guns. For them to take a stand and do the right thing gives cover to other businesses to do the right thing.”