(courtesy momsdemandaction.org)

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America’s statement on Facebook policy change on gun sales:

Facebook announced today that the company and its popular photo-sharing subsidiary Instagram will take significant steps to block potentially illegal firearm sales through their platforms. For the first time, the sites will delete reported posts offering to buy or sell guns without background checks – a key indicator that users may be seeking to avoid the life-saving checks that bar minors, felons, the seriously mentally ill and other dangerous people from buying guns. The sites will also block users under the age of 18 from viewing reported private gun sales posts from individual sellers and any pages used primarily for private gun offers . . .

The Facebook announcement follows a month-long campaign by Moms Demand Action that quickly drew more than 230,000 supporters who urged Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom to address the growing number of illegal gun sales facilitated by their networks. Direct discussions took place between officials of Facebook and Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a bipartisan national coalition founded by former Mayors Michael Bloomberg and Thomas Menino. The moms and mayors’ groups merged in December 2013 to form the largest gun violence prevention organization in the United States. This is the second corporate victory for Moms Demand Action, which last year mounted a campaign on Starbucks that resulted in a statement by CEO Howard Schultz that guns were no longer welcome in his stores.

In response to the announcement, Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts and Mayors Against Illegal Guns chairman John Feinblatt issued the below statements and will speak on a media conference call today with Facebook’s Head of Global Policy Management Monika Bickert and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman at 1:00 PM EST to discuss the policy changes – please email press@maig.org for details on the call.

Watts: “American moms are gratified that Facebook and Instagram have agreed to take meaningful steps to prevent illegal gun sales to children and dangerous people on its platforms.

“Our campaign showed how easy it is for minors, felons and other dangerous people to get guns online – that’s why moms and more than 230,000 Americans signed our petition, tweeted and used social media to ask Facebook and Instagram to do something about gun sales facilitated on their networks. We are happy that these companies listened to American mothers and we believe these changes are a major step toward making sure people who buy or sell guns on their platforms know the law, and follow it. Moms are particularly pleased that Facebook will block minors from seeing posts about gun sales or trades, and that we can be confident that these social networks will be safe spaces for our kids.

“There’s still so much to be done – by corporations, by Congress, and by local leaders – to keep guns out of dangerous hands. Moms have momentum and we’re moving the country toward a culture of gun safety one company, one legislator, one law at a time. We’re going to keep applying pressure to corporations and political leaders until they do more to reduce the gun violence that plagues our country. We’re not going away, and we will not stop until we’ve done everything we can to keep our children and communities safe.”

Feinblatt: “Our campaign exposed how simple it is for dangerous people to get their hands on guns, no questions asked – not only on Facebook and Instagram – but across the Internet. Unfortunately, the ‘private sale loophole’ allows anonymous parties to sell guns without background checks, and there are simply too many ways for criminals, minors and other prohibited gun purchasers to get them easily – with just the click of a mouse. We are grateful that Facebook and Instagram are making major moves to prevent these sales from happening via their platforms. We will remain vigilant in our efforts to draw attention to these critical safety issues and hold corporations and political leaders accountable to do their part to prevent gun violence.”

Among the significant policy changes Facebook and Instagram have agreed to implement to prevent easy access to guns on its platforms are the following:

  • Facebook will block all children (under 18) from viewing reported posts from individual gun sellers or gun pages where guns are sold or traded.
  • Facebook will allow users to report posts that may facilitate or promote potentially illegal gun activity.
  • Facebook will delete reported posts that indicate that the seller will not conduct a background check or that a buyer is seeking to avoid a background check.
  • Facebook will delete reported posts that indicate that a seller is willing to sell across state lines.
  • Facebook will continue to report to law enforcement any gun-related posts that may pose a threat to public safety.
  • Facebook will require private sellers who are reported for offering a gun for sale to acknowledge the relevant laws that apply to them – including that background checks may be required before completing a sale. These sellers will be blocked by Facebook from continuing to the site until they acknowledge this policy.
  • All Facebook Pages and groups must prominently state that sellers and buyers must comply with all applicable laws, including conducting a background check where required. Facebook will take down reported pages and groups where guns are sold until the owner of the page acknowledges this policy and includes this information prominently at the top of the page. Facebook’s Help Center will remind sellers that they may conduct background checks for safety purposes even where not legally required.
  • When someone searches on Instagram for a hashtag related to gun offers (e.g. #guns4sale) they will be required to acknowledge the relevant laws that apply to them in this area before they see search results.
  • Facebook will provide public education ad space targeted at users interested in firearm-related content to ensure they know about the laws related to gun sales. Moms Demand Action and Mayors Against Illegal Guns will provide content for these ads.

Facebook and Instagram’s policy changes were made in response to a campaign by Moms Demand Action launched on January 27, which was joined by partner organization SumOfUs and promoted on Change.org. As part of the campaign, Moms released a “closer look” video to riff on Facebook’s 10th anniversary “look back” videos to explain how Facebook’s previous policies made it easy for guns to be bought and sold online without criminal background checks. The video has been viewed nearly 400,000 times.

Moms also brought to light cases of minors and felons buying guns on Facebook.

Previous research by Mayors Against Illegal Guns found that criminals are flocking to the internet to buy guns – on one site, one in 30 prospective gun buyers on online had committed crimes that prohibited them from possessing firearms.

About Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America

Much like Mothers Against Drunk Driving was created to change laws regarding drunk driving, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America was created to build support for common-sense gun reforms. The nonpartisan grassroots movement of American mothers is demanding new and stronger solutions to lax gun laws and loopholes that jeopardize the safety of our children and families. In just one year, the organization has more than 140,000 members with a chapter in every state in the country. The group recently joined forces with Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country. For more information or to get involved visit www.momsdemandaction.org. Follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/MomsDemandAction or on Twitter @MomsDemand.

read the full press release

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85 Responses to Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America: Statement on Facebook’s Firearms Sales Policy

      • Kevin: After watching you eat all these years, know for sure that you would eat annthiyg that doesn’t crawl off your plate. Seems like Ken is having the harder time since he is even pickier that me. He picks beans out of chili but now will eat something that looks like it died on his plate and and is decomposing. YukI lost 31 pounds last July simply because the hospital food was SOOOOO bad I could not force it down, no way, it was realllly bad. Have gained about 8 pounds back but eat what I like now just not as much, and shoveling snow helps.But, whatever works. Just seems like its highly repititious and what are Lentils ? He will get tired of the same ol same ol and give it up.Look like some kind of beans to me but the boy is scuffing them right up.I shudder to think what he would have done with brussel sprouts when he wasMUCH younger. Obviously none of the 4H stuff has mayonaise on it.

    • When it’s legal and you don’t like it, and you have media control, it becomes ‘potentially illegal’.

      • +1

        Potentially illegal means it is up to the monitor’s “opinion.” Ultimately, it is how they are “feeling” at that moment – not an argument based on law, fact, or reason.

    • I assume in much the same way that groups like MDA and MAIG are “potentially” the biggest threats to American liberty in existence.

    • It’s like being potentially attractive…

      Shannon Watts is not attractive, but she has the potential to be. See how that works?

  1. Month long campaign that does nothing but basically have FB make a public statement about enforcing their current policy. My MAIG and MDA always have such crushing victories in their diligent fight.

    • You are absolutely correct. They got virtually nothing but lip service. And considering they’re probably the ones who were placing ads offering guns without background checks, it’s even funnier.

      • They got a better reception at Staples. At least the rent-a-cops took their petition before they gave them the bum’s rush.

  2. “Private sale loophole” since when is a private sale a loophole? Oh yeah I forgot… that makes sense thing need not apply.

    Makes just as much sense as verifying a buyer has a drivers license before you can sell him that rusty 84 pickup thats been collecting dust and rust… without a DL check you could be selling to someone who MIGHT be a DUI looking for a place to happen.

  3. Why does WDA count this as a win? The only thing that is going to change is people will stop talking about not doing background checks, which really goes without saying anyway when doing a private sale. Private sales across state lines is illegal so I have no problem with Facebook discouraging it. In the end nothing changes at all. You just have to click to indicate you are over 18 and that you are aware of your local gun laws. Big deal. Am I missing something?

    • Besides facebook becoming a nanny, the one thing I see that bothers me is this 18 year old & under can’t visit gun pages thing. It’s banning youngsters from being able to view guns, thus making guns taboo & evil. I don’t care for that. & that’s exactly what’s going to happen; any page that has offers of gun buying/selling (most gun pages) minors will now be prohibited from. Dont care for that one bit.

  4. If I were Facebook’s PR people, this release would have me pretty ticked off.

    First of all, FB didn’t say they would delete posts offering to sell across state line. They only said they would do so when someone offered to sell across state lines without shipping to an FFL, which is against the law. Second, I got the impression from FB’s statement that they were under the impression that it was against the law to sell without a background check. If that’s the case then they may read here that they’ve been misled as to the actual law.

    Hopefully it will wake them up to the fact that the gun control lobby is full of liars. If you lay down with dogs, you get up with fleas.

    • My thinking was long these lines as well. More saber-rattling by MDA for the victory of a battle that never happened.

  5. So Facebook is going to take down posts with that kind of language even where no background check is required by law, all because it “implies” some kind of malfeasance?

    Who actually writes like that when trying to sell a gun? I can recall one case that I think I read about here, I believe the woman who posted the ad was running for office?

    Makes you wonder if that case wasn’t a staged provocation just to lead into this? It is all just so stupid…

    • Did Moms Against Drunk Driving ever coordinate a mass effort to rid the internet of the private sales of cars and trucks to people who don’t have driver’s licenses?

      Illegal gun sales were a thriving industry long before Facebook, and will continue to be in light of of it, and in spite of the largely unenforced laws on the books.

  6. Good luck enforcing this, Facebook, since big words on paper (or a screen) do SO MUCH to prevent criminals from getting access to firearms already!

  7. This is not about us folks. It is about the next generation. Those youngin’s who are spending all their time on social media. Who never talk to others. Or look up. It is their minds which are being shaped by this campaign. A brilliant long term war on thinking. Orwellian to its core.

    • But those kids will grow up to be PhDs living in their mother’s basements and who will go on stabbing sprees in railway stations on national holidays.

    • And this is how they will speak to them…

      Facebook will provide public education ad space targeted at users interested in firearm-related content to ensure they know about the laws related to gun sales. Moms Demand Action and Mayors Against Illegal Guns will provide content for these ads.

      Probably worth more than all the other policy changes.

      • Facebook will provide human rights public education ad space targeted at internet social media users. Stalin, Mao and Fidel will provide content for these ads.

  8. ■Facebook will delete reported posts that indicate that the seller will not conduct a background check or that a buyer is seeking to avoid a background check.
    ■Facebook will delete reported posts that indicate that a seller is willing to sell across state lines.

    It is legal to make a sale within your state without a background check or without registering. This is not illegal activity.

    It is legal to make a sale across state lines – provided they go through an FFL. Just making the statement… “Facebook will delete reported posts that indicate that a seller is willing to sell across state lines” – does that mean nobody can advertise for out of state sales despite it is legal?

    • I’m still of the not so humble opinion that MDA themselves were behind the posts stating “No background checks.” Gun owner to gun owner would already realize that a background check isn’t required for a private sale within a given state. If they DID specify a background check under those conditions I’d be suspicious….

  9. Why is the friggin Mom’s press release longer than the FB terms of service? I may have nodded off a third of the way through.

  10. This is my greatest source of joy….

    Facebook will block all children (under 18) from viewing reported posts from individual gun sellers or gun pages where guns are sold or traded.

    Because NO ONE has EVER lied about their age on the intertubez in order to access a website they shouldn’t…..

    • That’s the hilarious part. Facebook knows this, which is just another indication that they’re placating the Mom’s with as few real measures as possible.

  11. It may be a poorly worded on FB’s part but at least the crux of it is “If you are obeying the law, then its ok” and I am good with that position.

  12. Where the hell did the term “agitprop” come from? I’d never seen it before in my life. Now I see it a dozen times a day.

    • It means “agitation and propaganda”, just shortened to “agitprop” for convenience’ sake, I guess.
      Also, a person can be an “agitpropist” aka someone who writes or creates “agitprop”.

    • It’s an abbreviation coming from отдел агитации и пропаганды – the Soviet Department for Agitation and Propoganda. It has come to mean propaganda with no other reason than to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

      • Ah, so it’s not a new term. Interesting. I like it. Little hard to say, though. Clash of consonants.

  13. “As part of the campaign, Moms released a “closer look” video to riff on Facebook’s 10th anniversary “look back” videos to explain how Facebook’s previous policies made it easy for guns to be bought and sold online without criminal background checks”

    That hasn’t changed at all.

    “Previous research by Mayors Against Illegal Guns found that criminals are flocking to the internet to buy guns – on one site, one in 30 prospective gun buyers on online had committed crimes that prohibited them from possessing firearms.”

    As with all “research” they do actual details could not be given because not enough time was taken to even make them up. When no details are given no fact-checking can be done.

    Speaking of that, we do need some quick fact checking here, because private sales aren’t supplying criminals with guns to any statistically significant degree.

  14. As usually happens, Moms Demand Action interprets language as they see fit. Facebook is not “changing” any of its existing policies. They have always limited illegal activity, such as selling illegal firearms. They have also always tried to limit access to minors. Why is it that Moms Demand Action and Mayors Against Illegal Firearms never seem to portray the real information.

  15. Well, it’s nice to know MDA can be so easily satisfied (no pun intended) and laughable they represent it a a major win. Personally, I would have preferred that FB treat MDA like STAPLES did, but I am guessing FB’s lawyers probably saw that MDA would accept this “gesture” and not be smart enough to realize it’s a boondoggle.

    • They might realize it doesn’t actually do anything, but they don’t have to admit it. Facebook releasing a statement, even as pointless as it is, allows MDA to count a “win.”

  16. “I’ll take any victory I can get. Even if it means absolutely nothing.”
    I love how they’re parading this around like some big huge victory. Not to stop there, they even put words in FB’s mouth.

    This is my shocked face.

    • Not to stop there, they even put words in FB’s mouth.

      Wouldn’t it be ironic if Facebook got fed up with the misrepresentation by MDA/AIG and deleted their page?

  17. Doesn’t matter how small the “victory”, or even if they’re just getting booted off of private property. They’ll still try to spin this like they just saved the world.

    • My hope is that FB will get sufficiently ticked at having their policy spun like a top for propaganda purposes that they’ll learn never to cooperate with MAIG, MDA or any other organ of the gun control lobby again.

  18. MDA, you are so diluted it’s scary!
    Try posting what the actual FB policy is verbatim and then we’ll see how much of a victory you scored! ……NONE!

  19. Wait a second there. The post about Staples telling them to GTFO said they could only muster 12,000 signatures. Now their FB harassment section claims 230,000 people. I think they just like to make up numbers.

  20. I would like to know how can a few missinformed groups have so much influnence on FB? Potentionally, FB and the said WAAAA WAAA groups bend the potential, laws a little.

  21. “Facebook will allow users to report posts that may facilitate or promote potentially illegal gun activity.”

    Well that tells me what their strategy is going to be. Simply spam Facebook with reporting every gun community page ou there.

  22. no one does background checks but dealers thats on facebook.everyone else sales to anyone thats got money.and they sale to people and dont know if they crazy or if they are a felony…….

  23. “Facebook will provide public education ad space targeted at users interested in firearm-related content to ensure they know about the laws related to gun sales. Moms Demand Action and Mayors Against Illegal Guns will provide content for these ads.”

    Why doesn’t the NRA or other pro-gun group step up and provide some content for these ads. Then we can see if Facebook will be fair and balanced on this issue.

  24. 1. We need “NRA-Book” or something similar.
    2. The headline I envision: “Mom’s Looking For Some Action go home alone”
    3. Look at the ‘likes’ for the NRA versus Brady and CSGV. Last time I checked we were up something like 37:1. But remember we are the minority.

  25. Wow… I wonder if they actually READ the Facebook policy? If they did, this kind of delusional exhibition is most commonly associated with some form of psychosis…

    Wonder at what point they cross the line where we can start reporting them for abusive or inappropriate behavior?

  26. What a load of nonsense! Making FB safe for kids? P-L-E-A-S-E! Some of the stuff you see on there would melt any milled receiver and then you still need eye-bleach after seeing things that you just can’t un-see. Just another back door attack on our 2A RIGHTS. Personally, I would NEVER use FB to sell or buy any gun-related items or guns. My business is MY business. Not the NSA’s, the FBI’s, the United Nation’s, Nanny Bloomberg, or any other alphabet agency. None of their flippin’ biz! Power hungry old men and women.

  27. Guys people need to stop saying nanny. Lets instead call it what it really is COMMI. After all it does attack the majority of constitutional rights.

  28. Assume Facebook notifies law enforcement about potential illegal gun activity and the ATF raids the home, someone in the home is killed or injured by the Narraganset militant wannabes in the Army in combat gear and it’s determined no illegal activity took place. I want to be on the jury for tort damages to Facebook.

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