June 13, 2024

Children’s books. Old sorority t-shirts. Your kitchen table. Or even your bed. These are all things that are acceptable to sell on Facebook. Things that you would not raise an eyebrow or take a second glance at if you saw them at a garage sale. Things that do not require a license to sell. Things that aren’t weapons.
As of Feb. 1, Facebook has limited the items sold on the site to the harmless items which we may find at a garage sale, and banned private gun sales on Facebook and Instagram. Guns, gun parts and ammunition now join marijuana, pharmaceuticals and other illegal drugs on the lists of items that are banned from Facebook commerce. While it may seem rather preposterous that these things were once able to pass from one hand to another without regulation on social media, many are still upset about the recent change. Those gun enthusiast and passionate social media shoppers need only to consider the logic behind the law, however, before they realize the ban makes perfect sense.
Logically, a company as prominent as Facebook should want to limit the use of its site for business dealings involving firearms. Deals conducted over social media create an easy opportunity to bypass important regulations such as background checks and licenses to sell. By instating this new policy, Facebook is merely ensuring that they are not providing an open forum for illegal activity. Simply stated, they are covering their own skin, and rightfully so. Regardless of company views on gun control, they are making a sound decision by enforcing more strict guidelines on the ways in which their platform is utilized for both legal and illegal business dealings.
Even gun enthusiasts who see the new policy as an inconvenience can agree when the situation is put into perspective. For instance, if a shooting were to occur and in the aftermath it was discovered that the gun in question was purchased from an unlicensed vendor via Facebook, the social media powerhouse would be in the midst of a legal and public relations nightmare. The company is doing its best to make sure this doesn’t happen by advocating and regulating for safer online interactions.
By no means is something as small as a new policy on Facebook going to keep all guns out of the wrong hands, but it is a move in the right direction. The Internet can be deceitful, and allowing the sale of firearms to near-strangers over social media seems like an idea as bad as opening up a free-for-all weapons exchange in the storage room of your business. It’s just not a sound decision.
For those who are passionate gun-bearing citizens, good for you. Continue to bear your arms; continue to live by the Constitution. You can still buy your weapons in stores from licensed dealers, but your social media will stay purely social, not a means to add a new piece to your gun collection.

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