New Facebook Rules for Advertising Guns

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Facebook has published rules for people advertising guns (or other restricted items) for sale. It boils down to ensuring only 18+ year olds can view these advertisements and that language such as “no background check required” is allowed.

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.

The NSSF begrudgingly says that the rules are reasonable but thinks they should have been consulted.

NSSF Statement on Facebook Firearms Policy

Facebook today acted to provide clarification to its policies on postings concerning firearms and agreed to provide educational messaging on its platform. We are in agreement that all applicable laws should be observed in the private transfer of firearms. We would have welcomed the opportunity to provide our industry’s perspective, however, and regret that we were not consulted. Facebook’s clarification will not affect the lawful commerce in firearm and ammunition products for NSSF members and their customers.

What will be interesting is how these rules apply to users in the rest of the world, if they apply at all. I have seen Facebook pages dedicated to selling DIY guns in some of the worlds most dangerous and notorious places.



Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • bbmg

    Facebook bends over backwards to create a “safe space”.

    This happened last year for example: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22701082

    Because of this: http://www.womenactionmedia.org/facebookaction/open-letter-to-facebook/

    A quote from that: “In a world in which hundreds of thousands of women are assaulted daily and where intimate partner violence remains one of the leading causes of death for women around the world, it is not possible to sit on the fence.”

    This is the truth: http://gamapserver.who.int/gho/interactive_charts/women_and_health/causes_death/chart.html

    It isn’t even in the top ten, the overwhelming majority of victims of all types of violence worldwide are men.

    Why should we let the facts get in the way though eh 😉

  • skusmc

    So, Facebook clarifies that someone shouldn’t post an illegal activity on Facebook. I’m good with that, butl I guess there goes the easy harvest for the folks at the BATFE.

  • i wonder if they are going to take down all the pot and drug pages?

  • Cymond

    It’s legal to sell a firearm privately in most parts of the US. I’d be very tempted to respond with a big “f you” to anyone that sends me “a message to [remind] him or her to comply with relevant laws and regulations” when I am doing precisely that.

    “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,””

    First, see my first point. In many parts of the US, it’s completely legal to privately sell a firearm with no background check. Apparently Facebook will tell people to follow the law … unless the law is lenient, in which case FB doesn’t care what the law allows.

    Additionally, does anyone think FB is smart enough to know what are or are not “regulated items”? A muzzleloading blackpowder revolver is not even considered a fiream under federal law, but I doubt Facebook is smart enough to know the difference. How many people’s posts will be removed for selling paintball/airsoft/airguns because Facebook can’t tell the difference?

  • Eric S

    This is probably one of the most half hearted solutions they could come up. It’s like they’re just saying ‘don’t get caught.’ It’s the least amount of effort they could put in to appease the anti-fun crowd.

  • Shawn

    Well since it’s already illegal to sell a gun to a minor I’m not really upset by this.