Facebook and Gun Sales

Update: A friend of mine has informed me that earlier this month, in response to concerns highlighted by groups such as Moms Demand Action, Facebook introduced a set of new policies to address the sale of regulated items.

At random, I stumbled across this video from Moms Demand Action detailing how easy Facebook makes it for individuals to buy and sell guns without criminal background checks:


I don’t want to sound too incredulous or naive but this surprised me, in part because there’s absolutely nothing illegal going on here:

Under federal law, only firearms sellers who are “engaged in the business” of selling guns must acquire a Federal Firearms License and perform criminal background checks on customers. But a vague definition about what it means to be “engaged in the business” allows the private sales market — where no background check is required — to flourish. In April 2013, a U.S. Senate proposal to expand background checks to all commercial gun sales failed to withstand a filibuster.

After twenty children and six adults were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary over a year ago, many of my friends and family from Newtown expressed their anger, sorrow and shock through Facebook. Being able to share their pain with a community of supporters helped them in some small way process what had happened. Facebook was a table for healing.

Sadly, at the very same time all of this was happening, the modern Moloch that devours the lives of the innocent and guilty alike without distinction was being fed just a few pages away.

 

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