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Why one firearm peddler likes Facebook's stricter sales policy

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Facebook changed its policy regarding the sale of firearms today, adding extra warnings and limitations in response to growing criticism that it’s too easy to buy a gun on Facebook and Instagram.

You might assume that firearm sellers and facilitators on using the networks would be angry about these changes—and some of them are. Tom King, the president of a New York affiliate of the National Rifle Association, told the Dallas News the new rules were "a kind of limit on our First Amendment rights."

But other people involved with the buying and selling of guns on Facebook are happy with the changes, including Ira Levin, a (legal) gun dealer from New Jersey who is an admin on the Facebook Page NJ Guns For Sale.

“Anytime you have an opportunity to explain or put out there the right thing... that’s important.” he told the Daily Dot. “In New Jersey, you have to be 18 to own a long gun and 21 to own a handgun, so for someone under 18 to be a member in a private group about firearm sales isn’t necessary. And ultimately, Facebook owns the application and website. It’s their product. If they want to limit it, I don’t see any issue with that.”

“They’re trying to create a more safe environment,” he continued.

Levin is a gun seller and a gun lover, but he doesn’t believe in relaxing laws around gun ownership. In fact, he’d like to see it become more difficult to get a firearms ID card. “It’s harder to get a driver’s license in the state of New Jersey than a firearms ID card,” he said. “I think that if you’re going to apply for a firearms ID card, at minimum you should have an NRA safety course.”

But while Levin likes the new rules, he believes Facebook gun talk can make the world a safer place. He sees the NJ Guns For Sale Page as a space promoting discussion about how to be more responsible about gun ownership. “I’ve even had a seller and a buyer come to me so that I could verify that everybody’s credentials were proper,” he said.

Levin is a gun dealer with a brick-and-mortar store, but he doesn’t actually use the page to sell. Instead, he views his role as a way to make his community safer. “It’s an opportunity for me—and I’m not the only person who’s a member who is a firearms dealer—to make sure that if any of our customers are selling stuff to each other, they’re doing it legally, and if they have any questions, they can ask and not be charged for the help.” Levin allows people selling to each other to do it at his store, so that they get extra verification that they’re not selling to someone with a fake license or bad intentions.

And Levin isn’t the only gun guy on Facebook applauding the new restrictions. Take a look at this post from one of the largest firearm-selling groupps, Guns For Sale:

 
 
Photo via Flickr/Michael Saechung (CC BY-SA 2.0)