In January 2016, Facebook instituted a ban on private individuals advertising gun sales and, in July, expanded the ban to include licensed gun dealers, as well.
The expanded ban lumps Federal Firearms License holders (FFLs) who operate out of their homes with private sellers, although FFLs must do a background check for every gun sold, whether working out of their homes or not.
According to Forbes, the expanded ban was discovered when Christopher Dover formed a group in which FFLs could advertise guns on Facebook. His group was meticulous. It “required each post to be approved by an administrator before going up,” and “only approved posts from dealers who provided a valid copy of their federal firearms license … along with their contact information and hours of operation.”
After the group grew to include 16 FFLs and “more than 900 members,” it was shut down.
Dover learned his group had been shut down because of a subtle shift in Facebook policy, whereby FFLs who work from home are treated as private individuals selling guns. The new policy says, “We prohibit any attempts by private individuals to purchase, sell, or trade prescription drugs, marijuana, firearms or ammunition.”
Facebook spokesman Alec Gerlach indicated that FFLs who work at retail businesses will continue to be allowed to advertise gun sales. He said, “Firearm shops and online retailers are allowed to engage in commercial activity involving firearms and ammunition on Facebook (ex: offering a gun for sale) as long as all applicable laws and regulations are followed.”
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.