Texas Law Shield has reviewed Facebook’s recent written policies on postings concerning “commonly regulated goods or services,” aka firearms, and it’s hard to find issue with them. Basically, Facebook wants its community to follow existing firearms laws.
We wish Facebook had consulted with some pro-gun organizations — in particular the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry’s trade association — about gun-transaction laws being evaded on Facebook and Instagram. However, the resulting changes seem to be restatements of existing industry policies.
From a Facebook statement written by Monika Bickert, Head of Global Policy Management:
Today, we are introducing a series of new educational and enforcement efforts for people discussing the private sale of regulated items:
— Any time we receive a report on Facebook about a post promoting the private sale of a commonly regulated item, we will send a message to that person reminding him or her to comply with relevant laws and regulations. We will also limit access to that post to people over the age of 18.
— We will require Pages that are primarily used by people to promote the private sale of commonly regulated goods or services to include language that clearly reminds people of the importance of understanding and complying with relevant laws and regulations, and limit access to people over the age of 18 or older if required by applicable law.
— We will provide special in-app education on Instagram for those who search for sales or promotions of firearms.
— We will not permit people to post offers to sell regulated items that indicate a willingness to evade or help others evade the law. For example, private sellers of firearms in the U.S. will not be permitted to specify “no background check required,” nor can they offer to transact across state lines without a licensed firearms dealer.
At Texas Law Shield, we are in agreement that all applicable laws should be observed in the private transfer of firearms. It seems to us that Facebook’s clarification, while quirky and misguided, will not affect the lawful commerce in firearms and ammunition products for our members, our member facilities, and their customers.
What do you think? Respond here or on our Facebook page.