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Moms Demand Action and Facebook in Talks to Stop the Facilitation of Gun Sales to Minors and Dangerous People Online

February 24, 2014

Moms Reveal Gun Sold Via Facebook to 15-Year-Old Who Took Gun to School, Another Example of Easy Access to Guns on Its Platforms

imageMoms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America issued a statement today on the latest developments in its campaign to ask Facebook and Instagram to prohibit gun sales and trades on its platforms. The organization, an uprising of American mothers committed to ending gun violence that was founded in the wake of Newtown, announced that it has entered formal discussions with Facebook – and also revealed another case of a gun sold via Facebook that ended up in the hands of a 15-year-old who took the gun to his high school in Kentucky.

“It’s a mother’s worst nightmare to learn how easy it was for a 15-year-old to buy a gun via Facebook – and that he took the gun to his school in Kentucky. This is just another example of how Facebook and other sites make it easy for minors and dangerous people to get guns online, with no questions asked, and exactly why we are asking Facebook to review its current policy,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “We recently began conversations with Facebook about what they can do to end the easy access to guns on its platform – because until they do, they are taking the risk that they are facilitating the illegal sale of guns on their social network. American moms are the number one demographic on Facebook – and we don’t want guns sold into dangerous hands on the same site where we post our family photos.”

An Ohio man was indicted last week for illegally selling a gun across state lines. The seller and his 15-year-old buyer were connected via Facebook – and the buyer later took the gun to his high school’s homecoming football game in Kentucky. This indictment follows on the heels of an arrest of a felon in Storm Lake, Iowa, who acquired a gun via Facebook from an undercover cop.

Moms Demand Action launched a campaign last month to call on Facebook and Instagram (owned by Facebook) to prohibit gun sales and trades on their sites. Unlike other online platforms like Craigslist and Google+, Facebook and Instagram allow gun sales and trades – making them unregulated online marketplaces where felons, domestic abusers and other dangerous people can easily obtain firearms.

Moms also released a “closer look” video to riff on Facebook’s 10th anniversary “look back” videos that shows how Facebook makes it easy for guns to be bought and sold online – without criminal background checks. The video has been viewed more than 375,000 times and can be seen here:

The campaign has shed a light on the vast, unregulated market for private gun sales on the internet, where transfers routinely occur without a background check – many initiated with posts on sites like Facebook and Instagram. Criminals are flocking to the internet to buy guns – a recent investigation by Mayors Against Illegal Guns found that 1 in 30 prospective gun buyers on had committed crimes that prohibited them from possessing guns.

The petition asking Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom has already received more than 75,000 signatures.

Read the full press release

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