Sen. Dianne Feinstein
You'd think that after decades of trying to disarm Americans, Dianne Feinstein would know a little about guns. You'd be wrong. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds via AP)
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Senate Democrats are now seeking revenge on behalf of their friends in Silicon Valley. Just days after Armslist filed a lawsuit against Facebook and Instagram over being deplatformed, Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced legislation “to hold accountable online gun marketplaces that allow illegal gun sales to be conducted on their platforms.”

The legislation, dubbed “The Accountability for Online Firearms Marketplaces Act,” specifically named Armslist as a reason to repeal Section 230 protections for online marketplaces that market firearms and accessories.

“The Accountability for Online Firearms Marketplaces Act would clarify Section 230 to ensure that the law’s blanket liability shield does not apply to online firearms marketplaces,” a press release from Feinstein’s office explained. “In enacting Section 230, Congress did not intend to grant a sweeping liability shield to all companies, including firearms marketplaces, merely because they operate in cyberspace. Under the Accountability for Online Firearms Marketplaces Act, online firearms marketplaces will no longer enjoy sweeping, blanket immunity—a change which will help take guns out of the hands of dangerous persons seeking to evade background checks and other gun safety measures. ”

The senators cite an incident where private party transactions were facilitated through the online platform as a reason to repeal Section 230 protections for similar websites.

In 2012, Radcliffe Franklin Haughton purchased a NP-40 semiautomatic pistol and three fourteen-round magazines from an unlicensed seller on Armslist even after his wife obtained a restraining order that banned him from purchasing a firearm. He later used that gun to murder his estranged wife, Zina Daniel Haughton, and two of her co-workers, in front of their daughter.  

Haughton’s daughter filed a civil lawsuit against Armslist alleging that Armslist facilitated unlawful conduct. Without even considering the merits of her claims, the Wisconsin Supreme Court dismissed the case under Section 230. The court’s decision in Daniel v. Armslist swept so broadly as to cover websites intentionally designed to encourage and facilitate firearms trafficking. 

There are a couple of issues with the senators’ assumptions. In Wisconsin, private party transfers are entirely legal. Buyers and sellers are not required to go to an FFL to carry out transactions. PPTs are legal as long as the seller knows the buyer isn’t a prohibited possessor or has reason to believe the buyer is unable to lawfully purchase or possessor a firearm.

A similar outcome could have taken place if the buyer and seller met each other through mutual friends or through a paper flyer on a post office bulletin board. How the buyer and seller find each other doesn’t remove the seller’s legal liability to know if the seller is a prohibited person.

Removing 230 protections for firearms-related websites like Armslist doesn’t address prohibited individuals from obtaining firearms. All it does is shift legal liability from the seller to the marketplace’s owner.

This move is another step in anti-gun politicians’ attacks on private party transfers. Doing away with the ability to conduct PPTs without a background check harms the law-abiding. It means domestic violence victims could face legal ramifications for borrowing a firearm from a friend when they fear for their lives. It means fathers and sons could face prosecution for lending firearms while hunting.

These moves only make it more difficult for the law-abiding to obtain and possess firearms. Criminals will always have the black market… because they don’t abide by laws.

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  1. I think we should give these moronic “representatives” some evil black guns and drop em off in Biden’s Afghanistan to rescue our people! Whaddaya think??

      • Yep and only 10 round magazines. I wonder if they would be able to find the shoulder thing that goes up!

      • Selling a firearm to a bad guy whether you know them or not is on the level of sitting in the getaway car while the buyer robs a bank.

        Busy body democRats just need to stfu and go play outside where they can pretend they are in charge of heaven and earth.

    • Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced legislation “to hold accountable online gun marketplaces that allow illegal gun sales to be conducted on their platforms.”

      Dumb. First the court would probably throw it out, like it has the others. Second, what they ask is an impossible feat. Nobody “holds accountable” anyone that sells someone a knife, or a kitchen cutlery set. When the farm center sells some rat poison, and someone kills someone with it – do we hold the farm center accountable? It’s a ridiculous concept. A leftist concept. It’s more of the left’s idea to pass the buck of responsibility. Blame the perpetrator? Nope. We need to blame all possible “enablers.” Nonsensical garbage.

      • It’s typical liberal law B.S. They can’t sue the perpetrator because the perp is either dead or a broke loser. They go for “deep pockets” and try to sue everyone remotely involved in the hope that they’ll somehow win the case or annoy a big company enough that they’ll throw money at them to make them go away.
        PLCAA was a nice step forward, but really it should apply to any company that legally sells a legal product that is criminally misused.

        • I take your point but isn’t that already the case, at least de facto, though? As I’m sure you are aware, PLCAA only prevents gun makers from being sued for the criminal misuse of their products. I look at it as simply a clarification that the trial bar cannot treat gun manufacturers differently than any other companies: they can only sue them for flaws or failures in their products, just like non-firearm products are treated. I am not aware of, for example, automobile manufacturers getting sued for drunks using their products (automobiles) while inebriated and crashing into things. The theory under which the trial bar in collusion with the gun control lobby wants to sue gun makers would also apply to any product that is criminally misused to cause some personal or financial injury (e.g. a drunk crashing a car into someone’s mailbox, or car, or, in the worst case, family). And yet I am not aware of any of such lawsuits being filed, or, having been filed, being successful. In other words, the PLCAA was only necessary due to a nefarious nexus of the trial bar and gun control activists conspiring to injure the gun industry through lawfare. So I guess what I’m saying is that I’ve never seen a materialized need for legislators to “clarify” that, yes, you cannot sue a company for the criminal misuse of its products, in the case of non-gun products. I’m genuinely curious if anyone knows of any examples of such lawsuits being filed or, having been filed, making it past being dismissed in the summary judgment phase in favor of the defendants. I suppose it is always possible for a similar nexus of trial bar plus some other anti-whatever lobby to develop, but I always default to less legislation—that is, less laws, is better than more laws. In other words, let the be a concrete reason to pass a law. It’s interesting to consider though. Still, I don’t see any general effect on manufacturers in the economy or in other specific industries where they are hesitant to invest, research, develop, and produce new or existing products due to some generalized threat or fear that the trial bar will sue them for the criminal misuse of their products. So there seems to be no need for a law clarifying what is already understood to be the case. Nevertheless, I understand the intended impact of lawfare lawsuits in terms of defense costs, reputations harm, the chilling of the vibrant marketplace with prophylactic strategies to avoid lawsuits, etc. it just seems to me that this danger has not manifested in any other industry. Part of the question of whether to pass general legislation turns on the question of whether judges and the legal system writ large seriously entertain such lawsuits: in brass tacks terms, how much does the blameless defendant have to spend to defend these baseless lawsuits and vindicate his right to manufacture lawful products? Are judges summarily dismissing with bias any incipient lawsuits filed on this theory of liability? I suppose that as long as judges quickly laugh any such lawsuits out of court with a rapidity equivalent to how they would dismiss the same suits under a general PLCAA, there is no need for a general PLCAA. Though I admit it’s a close question and am open to being persuaded to the other side. Right now I just don’t see a need for it: not a single suit (again, at least to my IANAL awareness) has been filed, much less survived initial contact with a judge, and therefore no non-gun manufacturers have suffered in any disparity to the PLCAA-protected gun manufacturers, and so nothing needs to be done for them in a general PLCAA. This takes me back to my original point that the PLCAA only became necessary due to nefarious collusion between NGOs and the trial bar to advance a novel theory to destroy the gun industry, but all it really did was yo clarify the status quo ante that all manufacturers enjoyed: not being held liable for someone misusing their (properly functioning) products. As I say, I’m open to being persuaded on this but right now I doubt any extension of the PLCAA to non-guns is warranted.

  2. Nothing done through the internet is private.
    Forcing us to go underground is probably a good thing.
    Remember according to ” them” we’re all criminals in waiting, act accordingly.

  3. Every time these so-called leaders do something ignorant like this all I can think about is what Jesus said to the Sadducees and Pharisees.
    Matthew 23:33
    You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?
    That’s one of the reasons I like Trump so much. He called out the leaders but was gentle and kind to regular people.

  4. The Senate should be declared a domestic terrorist organization and all supporters of this bill should be tried for treason

  5. The reason I know this is all bs just-for-show crap that just means the dems want to circle the wagons and protect Facebook all all costs is….

    If Armlist (or anyone else) is known to be engaging in illegal arms then the FBI, ATF, and possibly local law enforcement would get involved in shutting them down very quickly. It wouldn’t have anything to do with Facebook or any lawsuit.

    Not only is protecting Facebook like this really pretty sick and twisted in itself but doing this after illegally supplying huge amounts of arms to terrorists like Democrats just did adds insult to injury. Their craziness is aimed at destroying this country.

    With all this going on, I find it reprehensible to be part of Facebook in any way. Anyone reading this needs to think about what it actually means to have and use a Facebook login.

    • We’ve never seen an alignment of this magnitude of a powerful government with powerful, wealthy corporations in the history of the world. Mussolini would be jealous. The core constituents of the Democrats supposedly hate rich corporations. They ignore this, but cheer when the government smothers small business. They’re a confused bunch.

      • I’ve been saying for many years that the best thing to do with Facebook (and Twitter) is simply not to use their system. Not that I’m anyone special, or that my thoughts coming from any mind of greatness. There is plenty I don’t know.

        It doesn’t require such a calibration of powerful entities. What it requires is the ability to see the forest through the trees.

        Everyone seems to think that Snowden had some grand vision that he let the masses in on. But EVERYTHING he said was stuff everyone already knew. It’s more that no one listened or cared until he gave it all some degree of validation.

        It wasn’t that long ago that all kinds of people became very angry at the idea of having to “show their papers” but that is exactly what everyone seems to be more than happy to do now with their vaccine passports. To the point of paying for counterfeits. Instead of standing up for ‘the land of the free and the home of the brave’, people are so willing to capitulate. Facebook is no different.

    • I understand your argument and concede that it’s very insightful. Nevertheless, I don’t think we can rely upon this reasoning.

      Our issue is guns. The Federal authorities will crack-down on any gun sales conducted through Facebook. But we have little doubt that Facebook will do it’s level best to prevent its users from conducting gun sales on it’s platform. Here, the illegal activity involves GUNZZZZ!!!

      Does it follow that Congress will follow suite to impose this same liability on Facebook for other objects of commerce?

      The answer is “Yes” for child pornography. “No” for adult pornography. Facebook and Congress will be largely in alignment as to which objects of commerce to forbid and which to indulge.

      Now, turn to every other potential object of commerce. Would Congress pass a law making Facebook culpable for facilitating transactions in marijuana seeds? Or, the final product? I don’t think so.

      So, Congress is apt to proceed with guns, and selectively with other products (e.g., child pornography) while ignoring everything that their Progressive constituents prefer to indulge in.

  6. Ahem–editor you may want to reread this post as it contains some glaring errors. For example the line: “How the buyer and seller find each other doesn’t remove the seller’s legal liability to know if the seller is a prohibited person.” It should read “…seller’s legal liability to know if the BUYER is a a prohibited person.” And this line doesn’t make a whole lot of sense either: “PPTs are legal as long as the seller knows the buyer isn’t a prohibited possessor or has reason to believe the buyer is unable to lawfully purchase or possessor a firearm.” Better: …seller doesn’t know or have reason to know that the buyer IS a prohibited person…”

    Another Grammar Nazi

  7. Incidents such as that of Radcliffe Franklin Haughton (2012) create the pretext for the proposed legislation. We find ourselves struggling to protect our most deeply vested interests vs rare edge cases such as this one.

    When non-FFLs sell/buy a gun intER-state then Federal law compels the transaction to be intermediated by FFLs. Such transactions are typically (though not necessarily) anonymous and facilitated by the internet. By anonymous I mean that there is little (if any) opportunity for the seller to be acquainted with the buyer. No issue with intER-state transactions because the mandatory FFL NICS the buyer.

    Cases such as Haughton are intRA-state; no applicable Federal law requiring FFL intermediation. Some states require some arms sales between private parties to be intermediated by an FFL; but, no such requirement applies in a majority of states. And, so, these few rare cases cause a problem. Whether it is a serious and practical problem is debate-able; even so, it’s clear that there is the APPEARANCE of a problem which the gun-controllers will capitalize upon.

    The gun-controllers will insist that the ONLY solution is to require ALL transfers (even loans) to be subjected to UBCs. These will include relatives, friends and acquaintances. But, I hasten to emphasize, sales, inheritances and loans among relatives, friends and acquaintances are NOT the Haughton problem. ONLY anonymous sales facilitated by the internet (newspaper ads, bulletin-board postings) create the Haughton problem. It’s the sledge-hammer solution to the fly-swatter problem.

    (We understand, intuitively, that when a gun owner sells/loans a gun to a relative, friend or acquaintance, he WILL know – at least consider – her character and history. If she is NOT reliable, he will hesitate to complete the transfer. Such prudent behavior can’t be expected to serve the purpose among criminal acquaintances. But, then, they won’t obey any UBC law. The only problem we should be considering addressing is the ANONYMOUS sale.)

    Our knee-jerk reaction is to REFUSE to negotiate a solution that might be palatable TO OUR OWN interest. “Don’t give them an inch!” This MIGHT be a mistake. Perhaps we ought to think about some better solution.

    First-off, we ought to strive to keep the solution – whatever it might be – at the state level. Each state’s legislature crafts its own solution.

    Second, we ought to strive to encourage our respective state legislatures to carve-out safe harbors for relatives, friends and acquaintances. We want these safe harbors to be as wide as we can possibly negotiate in each state. We might not get everything we would desire in many states; nevertheless, whatever we can get is better than living under a Federal law. By a safe-harbor I mean that there is NO impediment whatsoever to selling/loaning to a transferee who is a close-enough relative, friend known for a minimum number of years or acquaintance of a minimum number of days.

    Third, we ought to be able to get an addition to the law enabling a person to obtain a NICS check (or the respective state check) from, e.g., his sheriff or police department. If the buyer mails the certificate of that NICS-check to the seller, that constitutes the legislature’s required background check. This – narrow – requirement will apply whenever the relationship between seller/buyer is not exempt by the state’s specified safe-harbor. (Or, where the buyer unilaterally decides that he won’t proceed with a sale to his cousin without the cousin obtaining the NICS certificate made available by this contemplated law change.)

    Here, we are dealing EXCLUSIVELY with the “mail order” outright sale problem presented by Haughton. We CAN live with this. If a seller in LaCrosse wants to sell a gun to a private party in Green Bay, the latter can get his NICS certificate from his local constabulary without much difficulty. He needs to mail a check to the seller in LaCrosse anyway; he just includes the certificate in the envelope. This isn’t as difficult as involving 2 FFLs in each city. And, it keeps the solution narrowed to the problem, anonymous sales where the seller is in no position to evaluate the possibility that the buyer might be a prohibited-person.

    I immediately concede that the gun-controllers will REFUSE to agree to this common-sense reasonable solution to the Haughton problem. That’s FINE! Then, our (spineless) GOP Congress-critters have a good-enough excuse to vote-down the Democrats’ UBC bill. They can tell their constituents that they proposed a perfectly adequate alternative (authorization for LEOs to issue NICS certificates upon request of buyers) but the Democrats refused. So, the GOP Congress-critters voted against the Democrats over-reaching bill.

  8. The old prune is 88 years old! Jesus God woman, hang it up and enjoy what little brain you have left talking about the good old days!

  9. “O ye that love mankind! Ye that dare oppose, not only the tyranny, but the tyrant, stand forth! Every spot of the old world is overrun with oppression. Freedom hath been hunted round the globe. Asia, and Africa, have long expelled her. Europe regards her like a stranger, and England hath given her warning to depart. O! receive the fugitive, and prepare in time an asylum for mankind.”
    –Thomas Paine

    • Criticism of George Washington
      Upset that U.S. President George Washington, a friend since the Revolutionary War, did nothing during Paine’s imprisonment in France, Paine believed Washington had betrayed him and conspired with Robespierre. While staying with Monroe, Paine planned to send Washington a letter of grievance on the president’s birthday. Monroe stopped the letter from being sent, and after Paine’s criticism of the Jay Treaty, which was supported by Washington, Monroe suggested that Paine live elsewhere.[90]

      Paine then sent a stinging letter to George Washington, in which he described him as an incompetent commander and a vain and ungrateful person. Having received no response, Paine contacted his longtime publisher Benjamin Bache, the Jeffersonian democrat, to publish his Letter to George Washington of 1796 in which he derided Washington’s reputation by describing him as a treacherous man who was unworthy of his fame as a military and political hero. Paine wrote that “the world will be puzzled to decide whether you are an apostate or an impostor; whether you have abandoned good principles or whether you ever had any”.[91] He declared that without France’s aid Washington could not have succeeded in the American Revolution and had “but little share in the glory of the final event”. He also commented on Washington’s character, saying that Washington had no sympathetic feelings and was a hypocrite

      I might add his book “The Age Of Reason” was a scathing attack on Christianity and religion in general and was full of hilarious comments poking fun at organized religion. It was one of the Reasons Washington stabbed Paine in the back.

  10. Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI); that’s a trifecta of senility. Obiden would make a barbershop quartet singing their same old song.


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