The gun control advocacy group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America is asking Facebook and Instragram to stop allowing members to use their social media pages to sell guns.
“Facebook and Instagram are effectively hosting online gun shows — allowing private sales and trades that are not subject to background checks,” said Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts.
The organization, which Watts founded following the 2012 Newtown, Conn., school shooting, asks that Facebook “immediately enact a policy prohibiting all sales and trades of firearms on their platforms.”
"American moms are among the most frequent and loyal users of Facebook and Instagram. We call on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom to keep our social networks safe—online and offline—by closing the private sale loophole they enable on their sites," Watts wrote in a press release.
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The group claims that Facebook, which owns Instagram, allows users to traffic guns. It calls social media an “unregulated market” for firearms, pointing to statistics from a 2011 New York investigation that found that 62 percent of Internet gun sellers sold weapons to people who said they probably would not pass a background check.
Both eBay and Craigslist ban gun sales. A Facebook official pointed out that the social media sites are not intended for selling anything, and that the site does not facilitate sales even if gun owners post pictures of weapons for sale on their personal pages. Gun ads are not allowed on Facebook.
The group has already shown its muscle when dealing with corporate policies. Last September Moms succeeded in getting Starbucks CEO Howard Schutlz to request gun owners leave their weapons outside the premises before picking up their morning coffee. Schutlz stopped short of banning guns in the stores, but issued a “respectful request that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas.”