Several online marketplaces began heavily policing merchants after last year’s shootings in Connecticut. Amazon is one of the e-tailers that suspends accounts of users who violate weapons guidelines. Facebook has started enforcing their own guidelines, which has affected gun sellers.
Facebook guidelines state that the promotion of weapons, ammunition, or explosives is not permitted. Recently a gun seller’s Facebook page was deactivated, one that had been established for a significant amount of time and had accrued almost 30,000 fans. Although social media sites and online marketplaces have their own regulations that address firearm transactions, there are still ways for enthusiasts to buy firearms online. Facebook is notorious for amending its privacy guidelines without informing users, and updates about their ad guidelines are similarly handled. Since 2011, Facebook removed restrictions for gun promotions and instead relies on local laws based on where the gun seller and buyer are located. When ad guidelines change, users typically only find out once their page is deactivated, and the reactivation process is often frustrating and lengthy.