Facebook Is Banning Private Gun Sales

The social network pokes at deals that often require no background check.

Rattanapon Ninlapoom/Shutterstock

Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.

Facebook just announced that it is going to ban its users from coordinating private gun sales on its site and through the photo sharing service Instagram, according to the New York Times. The new rules do not apply to licensed gun dealers, who can still post to Facebook so long as they do not complete transactions on the site. The move, which extends to gun parts and ammunition, targets private, person-to-person gun sales, which do not require background checks in many states.

This is the second major action Facebook has taken on gun sales. In March 2014, partly in response in to groups such as Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, the social network warned users promoting private sales to comply with state and federal gun laws. Posts discussing firearms sales were restricted to users over 18. At the same time, Instagram introduced “in-app education” for users searching for gun promotions.

The new policy adds firearms to Facebook’s existing bans on selling marijuana, pharmaceuticals, and illegal drugs through the network. In a statement to the New York Times, Monika Bickert, Facebook’s head of product policy, said, “Over the last two years, more and more people have been using Facebook to discover products and to buy and sell things to one another. We are continuing to develop, test and launch new products to make this experience even better for people and are updating our regulated goods policies to reflect this evolution.”

We Recommend


Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.