Though Facebook is not an e-commerce site, a Moms Demand Action petition on Change.org to prohibit gun sales on both Facebook and Instagram has over 94,000 signatures. The MDA website labels Facebook as the new “gun show.” There is a second petition on DemandAction.org which asks people to electronically sign a form letter to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. According to the website, over 91,000 people have sent letters. They claim that several felons have already been caught attempting to buy and sell firearms on Facebook.
According to the petition website, recent signers provided names such as “Newtown Hoax” and “Fuck U.”
VentureBeat also claims that buying a gun on Facebook takes a total of 15 minutes. The “in depth investigation” condemns such pages as I Love Guns, Firearms Only Alamogordo, and Guns, Ammo, and Blades as retailers for “shady people” looking for full-auto guns with the serial numbers filed off. It supposedly took reporters 15 minutes to broker a deal on a 7mm rifle and 90 rounds of ammo with “a guy named Dave.”
Federal law enforcement officials have stated that they view Facebook and other social media sites as an “emerging threat” in “illegal gun transactions.” Special Agent Helen Dunkel, with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, called it a “fact” that social media is being used as an online free-for-all gun bazaar.
Facebook is now debating on banning gun-themed pages altogether, though website policy strictly prohibits the sale or trade of guns, explosives, and other weapons. Facebook is not a retailer, and sales do not happen on Facebook – but gun control groups argue that Facebook allows people to meet up online for potential sales. The groups are accusing Facebook and Instagram as being the facilitator in these sales.