Activists push Facebook to ban gun sales
Groups claim that the social network and its sister site Instagram facilitate questionable, and perhaps illegal, trading and selling of weapons.
Two of the country's most influential gun control groups are in talks with Facebook's (FB) legal team in an effort to see gun sales banned on the world's largest social network and its sister site, Instagram.
Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense In America has partnered with Michael Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns to put pressure on Facebook to prohibit the private selling or trading of guns on its platforms -- a practice that's as widespread as it is unregulated.
"Facebook and Instagram are enabling people to sell weapons, often with no questions asked and no background checks required," said Mayors Against Illegal Guns' spokesperson Erika Soto Lamb.
Lamb cited a recent sting operation in Storm Lake, Iowa, where a convicted felon tried to exchange an assault rifle for a handgun via Facebook. In this case, the gun dealer was an undercover officer, and the 21-year-old felon was arrested and jailed.
"This police department shed light on how easy it is for someone who is prohibited from owning a gun to procure one using social media," she said.
Lamb added that Facebook and Instagram would be joining fellow online platforms eBay (EBAY), Craigslist and Google's (GOOG) Google+, all of which have banned the buying, selling or trading of firearms without background checks.
Legal representatives from both gun control groups have to date held a number of conference calls with Facebook's legal team. "We're seeing how we can work together," she said. "They're listening to us."
A Facebook spokesperson confirmed these recent discussions, adding that the company's lawyers have always made a point of meeting with groups concerned about issues including hate speech and the representation of women on the site.
As these conversations continue, Moms Demand Action is circulating a petition addressed to Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Instagram's Kevin Systrom, with 55,000+ signatories to date urging the duo to "put an end to this completely unregulated social media gun show" on their respective sites.
Moms Demand founder Shannon Watts, who formed the group the day after the Newtown massacre, has also overseen the creation of a video aimed at showing how prolific gun sales and trades are on Facebook.
Should these activists succeed in persuading Facebook to crack down on gun sales, it'll mark Watts' second huge corporate scalp. The former communications executive and mother of five lobbied Starbucks (SBUX) last August, asking that the coffee giant ban weapons following a smattering of pro-gun rallies in and around its stores.
A month later, in September, Starbucks' billionaire CEO Howard Schultz penned a rare open letter to customers asking that they leave their guns at home.
After her Starbucks win, Watts and her team started pressuring Staples (SPLS) to enact a company-wide ban on weapons in its stores. The office supply giant has yet to acquiesce.
"We're not just taking on Congress, we're taking on corporations," said Mayors Against Illegal Guns' Lamb. "This is our next phase."
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Will the demand Facebook ban pedophiles from suing it to access children? Porn stars and drug abusers are going to be banned? Of course not,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,criminals, druggies and perverts have rights according to the left.
Gun owners, legal and abiding the law,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,not so much.
These are not "unregulated". Sales in any form have plenty of regulation. If people are not following those laws, then its their problem and not that of the website. If shipping a gun to another state, there has to be a federally licensed receiver on the far end and usually one on the near end. If face to face its up to your state and local laws governing private sales. Why not ask your govt to keep up with the laws they already have instead of making the private sector do the policing for them?
Facebook does not have to comply with gun laws, they don't deal in guns. Its the people on facebook you need to comply with the laws, and guess what, that's already their legal responsibility! The example of a felon getting guns is a violation of existing law by the felon as well as the seller most likely. No loophole.
People need to read up on the laws they claim to be fighting over. You can't piece together a valuable argument if you don't understand what you are arguing about.
Really going after companies, making them ban guns in their stores. These two groups are dumb I can see keeping illegal gun sales banned from Face book but who cares if I walk around Wal-Mart with my sidearm against my hip. I'm not hurting anyone, just making a statement of don't try to mug me or anything because I'm protected.
Bloomberg and the mad mommy crowd are extortionists. They are agenda driven, leaving little room for facts in the pursuit of their goals. They use emotion over logic, and count on ignorance on the issue to gain an advantage over their opponents. Like most liberal "progressives", they see themselves as always being right on an issue, making everyone else automatically wrong. They are tenacious, and will stop at nothing to achieve their objective. They also rely on the liberal media to give them what little credibility they have, and MSNBC has shown that it will always been there to help advance their cause.
The best way to reduce violent crime and the element that commits the majority of it would be to take the handcuffs off the cops and let them do the job they are charged with. Not take the best chance we have to defend ourselves or our loved ones from that element.
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