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Facebook Cracks Down On Gun Sales With New Policy

The change will block minors from seeing posts pertaining to guns and remove sales that cross state lines or do not require a background check.
Posted at 7:31 PM, Mar 05, 2014

Facebook is once again making changes, but this time it’s taking aim at gun-related posts.

The social media company announced Wednesday it will soon block minors from seeing posts pertaining to gun sales, while also removing sales that would cross state lines or that don’t require a background check. (Via Facebook)

The move comes amid pressure from gun-control advocacy groups like Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense and Mayors Against Illegal Guns. (Via Facebook / MomsDemandAction, Facebook / maigcolaition)

Those groups have pushed hard for more restrictive policies on guns from the site in recent weeks — releasing a video in early February as well as petitions on sites like Change.org and SumOfUs.

Quoted by USA Today, the chairman of Mayors Against Illegal Guns said, "On the same site that people are sharing birthday parties and family reunions, there are photos of AK-47s. This is not in the bowels of Facebook. This is upfront, center and easy to access."

For their part, gun-selling pages on Facebook have attempted to counter the gun control push — even posting their own petitions — which argue that the policy infringes on First and Second Amendment rights. (Via Facebook / Guns For Sale, Change.org

There has been some evidence that gun sales on Facebook may be a problem though.

Last year a 15-year-old in Kentucky brought a 9mm handgun he reportedly purchased through Facebook to school. (Via WSAZ)

And as VentureBeat reports, it was able to arrange an illegal gun sale on Facebook in just 15 minutes during an investigation earlier this year.  

The change in policy will also affect Instagram, which is owned by Facebook. It’s set to go into effect in the next few weeks.