Facebook made lots of news when they announced in January that the social network would block all posts promoting private gun sales. The media naturally lapped it up and, as night follows day, Shannon and her host of hoplophobic harridans did handstands at the news. There’s only one problem: the Zuckerborg’s (sic) policy has been an epic fail. Forbes has been tugging on that thread for some time. So has vocativ.com. Here’s their latest salvo . . .
Five months after Facebook unveiled a new policy banning private gun sales, it is still shockingly easy to find and buy a firearm without a background check—even if you’re a convicted arsonist, like the one who spoke to Vocativ.
The ban, implemented in January, prohibits the private, person-to-person sales of guns, but allows gun clubs and licensed dealers to continue to operate Facebook and Instagram accounts. As Vocativ reported in January, the ban didn’t stop the online sale of guns, it just moved several online firearm marketplaces to other social media websites. Now, it appears private marketplaces on Facebook are still flourishing and in many cases do not appear to be adhering to the social network’s gun policy.
At the time of publication, Vocativ found at least a dozen Facebook groups dedicated to selling, trading, and discussing firearms and ammunition, with more being unearthed in our ongoing coverage of online gun groups. Some of these groups posted disclaimers explaining Facebook’s policy, but there is nothing to indicate that sellers are enforcing the required background check. To add to the questionable nature of these transactions, the administrators of many of these groups are not in several of the databases that list names of individuals and businesses with a federal firearm license (FFL), which Facebook requires in order to operate a page that facilitates the sale of firearms.
Unregulated private gun sales? Oh, the humanity! Speaking of sensationalism, vocative.com trots out an anonymous gun buyer — who eventually reveals he almost bought a gun via Facebook — to show just how dangerous Facebook’s anti-gun sales impotence is to Our Way of Life.
We did, however, get in touch with a man who responded to a listing for a 9-milimeter pistol going for $525 in one of the gun groups. He requested anonymity because owning a gun as a prohibited possessor is “a major crime” that comes with “major time,” he said. The man was convicted in 2008 of felony arson. He also has multiple DUIs, and in 2011 he was charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. That charge, he told Vocativ, was dropped—”some guy beating his girl, I stepped in and we both get cut with a knife but I get arrested,” he explained. The man responded to gun listing on May 13, but he told Vocativ that he didn’t go through with the purchase . . .
In one group, a South Carolina man posted a message on Facebook that implied that he was recently released from jail. In others, members use their Facebook pages to post racist, anti-government, far-right imagery, like the Confederate and “Don’t tread on me” Gadsden flags, as well as anti-abortion rhetoric.
Anti-abortion rhetoric? Now I’m convinced. Convinced that Facebook is a (literal) poster child for left-leaning liberals for whom “protected speech” is an anathema. Again, Facebook is a private company that has the right to make its users play by their rules. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t hold their feet to the fire, just like gun control advocates.