Armslist LLC and owner Jonathan Gibbon recently filed a lawsuit against Facebook and Instagram over the social media giants’ decision to suspend Gibbon’s personal and business accounts in January, 2020.
According to the lawsuit, Gibbon and Armslist Marketing Director, Andrew Varney III, were “targeted” because of “their conservative and libertarian political views,” Trib Live reported.
The website, which serves as a go-between between buyers and sellers, frequently posts pro-Second Amendment content on their social media platforms as a way of driving traffic to their website. The company doesn’t post ads for firearms or parts on their social media accounts, which would be a violation of Facebook and Instagram’s terms of service agreement.
“Armslist frequently posted commentary supportive of Second Amendment rights and critical of certain proposed gun control measures and the political figures supporting these measures,” the lawsuit states, according to Armed American News. “In addition, many Armslist posts called attention to the use of firearms in stopping and preventing crime, the significance of firearms in American history and culture and the Constitutional protections relating to firearm ownership.”
The website believes their accounts were shut down because of the political pressure the Big Tech giants are facing. Gun control groups and individual members of Congress want Facebook and Instagram to be held responsible “for gun violence and illegal gun sales” that take place on their platforms. The pressure has resulted in Facebook cracking down on the sales of firearms and firearm accessory sales.
Armslist is similar to Craigslist and is utilized as an online classifieds section where users can post firearms, ammunition, and related accessories for sale. Even though the platform is online, users are still required to follow all local, state, and federal firearms laws. That means when a person lists a gun for sale on the website and finds a buyer, both have to abide by the law. In some states, like California, both the buyer and seller would have to go to an FFL to complete the transaction.
This lawsuit will be one to watch. It could have a dramatic impact on the firearms industry as a whole, especially as tech giants zero in on anything even remotely tied to the gun industry. Holster companies and even crafters on Etsy have had content pulled from various platforms simply because their products are associated with firearms.