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Facebook and Instagram ban private gun sales

Licensed gun dealers will not be affected by the ban.


William Turton


Posted on Jan 29, 2016   Updated on May 27, 2021, 7:17 am CDT

Facebook is cracking down on private gun sales, the company announced Friday.

Private, person-to-person sales of firearms are no longer permitted on Facebook or Instagram, which is owned by Facebook. Licensed gun dealers will not be affected by the ban.

In 2014, gun safety groups railed against the sale of private guns on Facebook. Their major point of contention? These transactions occurred without background checks.

“Unfortunately, the ‘private sale loophole’ allows anonymous parties to sell guns without background checks, and there are simply too many ways for criminals, minors and other prohibited gun purchasers to get them easily—with just the click of a mouse,” Chairman of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, John Feinblatt, said in 2014.

For Facebook, its evolving role in commerce meant reassessing these loopholes.

“Over the last two years, more and more people have been using Facebook to discover products and to buy and sell things to one another,” said Monika Bickert, Facebook’s head of product policy, in a statement. “We are continuing to develop, test and launch new products to make this experience even better for people and are updating our regulated goods policies to reflect this evolution.”

Since 2014, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and multiple gun safety groups partnered with Facebook to remove posts that aimed to subvert existing gun laws and to hide gun ads from minors.

H/T New York Times | Illustration via Max Fleishman

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*First Published: Jan 29, 2016, 11:17 pm CST