Facebook has closed down the page of a Pittsburgh gun store that was running a contest to give away an AR-15. Erik Lowry, the owner of Pittsburgh Tactical Firearm, also had a secondary page he created shut down. He has yet to be contacted by Facebook about the matter.
"I still don't know what's going on," Lowry said on Sunday afternoon.
According to Lowry, he received a number of calls and emails from fans of his store’s page informing him that it had been closed down. Pittsburgh Tactical Firearm had more than 27,000 followers.
It’s possible that the page was closed down because of a report about firearm giveaways that was released by media start-up Vocativ. While reporting for the piece, Vocativ contacted Facebook and made it aware of the gun giveaways. A Facebook spokesperson had this to say:
"Our Ad Guidelines prohibit promotion of the sale of weapons and the Ad Guidelines apply to Pages with commercial content on them. Ads may not promote the sale or use of weapons, ammunition, or explosives."
Lowry says he only used the site to make his followers aware of promotions that were being conducted at Pittsburgh Tactical Firearm and that no sales were actually conducted via Facebook, according to Yahoo News.
"There are no guidelines that say you can't giveaway guns," Lowry said. He also noted that larger gun manufacturers and stores have Facebook pages that remain open.
Lowry estimated that the closing of his page is resulting in a loss of $500 to $1,000 per day. He has spent $10,000 in formal advertising on Facebook and says that if the network had simply contacted him about the page, he would’ve fixed it to conform to the site’s guidelines.
"I am very adamant about following rules. I'm not the type of person who will stick it to the man," Lowry said. "[It] at least should have been a courtesy for someone to contact us and say 'this is why we did it.' The lack of communication is so, incredibly frustrating."