On March 5, 2014 Facebook released a new gun policy. At Brady we feel a deep obligation to evaluate every decision in terms of the potential to save lives. After many hours of review and several conversations with Facebook we concluded that this new gun policy simply does not make adequate progress towards this goal.
In our statement responding to Facebook’s announcement, we expressed great concern that this new policy does not do enough to prevent unchecked gun sales to dangerous people, like felons and domestic abusers.
We encourage you to read our brief, “A Deeper Look at Facebook’s New Gun Policy”, but our position comes down to three simple points:
1) Unlicensed Sellers Can Still Post Guns For Sale on Facebook and Instagram
Google, Craigslist, and eBay all prohibit unlicensed sellers from advertising guns for sale. Facebook has failed to meet the bar set by these other websites.
2) Community Monitoring Is Inadequate
Instead of a more sophisticated technical solution, Facebook will rely on solely on their members to report violations leaving innumerable gun ads untouched.
3) The Reminders to Comply with Gun Laws Are Not Visible Enough
Most sellers will never see important messages reminding them to comply with gun laws. Facebook will only send reminders to a seller when their post is reported and will allow administrators of gun pages to relegate this information to the About Us section.
For these reasons and more Facebook should prohibit all posts that advertise the unlicensed sale or transfer of firearms in the United States.