Facebook To Help Curtail Illegal Gun Sales With Rules Changes


Facebook says it’s going to change rules for posts involving gun sales, restricting minors’ ability to view them and removing outright posts that suggest illegal sales.

Facebook has announced it will try to block people under 18 from seeing ads for gun sales. The company also says it will try to remove posts pushing sales with “no background check required” or that would move guns across state lines without the involvement of a licensed dealer.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is part of a national mayors’ group supporting more restrictions on gun sales. He says Facebook is taking a positive step, “that will make it more difficult for minors to get access to selling guns. I think most people almost universally agree with that,” Barrett said. “I think it’s more problematic as to what the enforcement mechanism will be to make sure that other illegal sales don’t occur.”

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Barrett says Facebook may have a tougher time policing itself. He also says Facebook making changes shouldn’t halt state and federal lawmakers from restricting online sales, partly because there are many other social media sites, and because not enough has been done to stop people with restraining orders against them from getting a gun.

Jeff Nass of Wisconsin Force, a local NRA group, says he’s not concerned with the Facebook restrictions.

“I don’t see this as a major change — they’re not restricting law-abiding activity, as far as what I’ve read,” Nass said. “They don’t want to facilitate illegal use, which actually I have no problems with.”

Nationally, the NRA is saying gun control advocates failed to get Facebook to take bigger steps. The changes also apply to Facebook’s photo-sharing service, Instagram.