WASHINGTON, D.C.— U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), who has continually called out Facebook for its failure to monitor and enforce its own ban on gun sales, and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today introduced the Stop Online Fraudulent Sales of Firearms Act that would prevent gun sellers from circumventing technology companies’ terms of service by making it illegal to fraudulently sell firearms and ammunition online.
“The fact is, no matter how many times big tech companies claim they’re cracking down on illegal online firearm sales, determined gun sellers and buyers find new ways to get around it,” Sen. Menendez said. “With this bill, we are making very clear to gun sellers who are caught illegally moving their weapons online: if you make the sale, you will pay the price.”
“While some technology companies have banned selling firearms and ammunition on their websites, the problem persists,” Sen. Feinstein said. “Our bill would make it illegal for gun sellers to circumvent websites’ terms of service and continue the underground proliferation of firearms. It’s part of a larger effort that needs to be taken to stop the plague of gun violence in our communities.”
“Internet marketplaces like Facebook are the virtual dark alley where unscrupulous gun sellers go to meet dangerous individuals who are trying to get their hands on a firearm,” said John Feinblatt, President of Everytown for Gun Safety. “Stopping these illegal sales would save lives, and we applaud Senator Feinstein for introducing legislation to do exactly that.”
“Overwhelming majorities of Americans support policies that ensure that individuals who should not possess firearms are not able to purchase them, including online,”said Kris Brown, President of Brady. “Brady is grateful to Senators Feinstein and Menendez for addressing a dangerous practice of falsely advertising firearm sales online. Such sales are designed to circumvent the regulations that help keep our families and communities safe. This is a common-sense fix to a growing problem that applies the spirit of our nation's existing gun safety laws to novel, 21st century issues.”
Although technology giants like Facebook have banned selling firearms and ammunition on their platforms, sellers have consistently found ways, like misrepresenting guns as other items, to circumvent those restrictions.
Last month, Facebook reported it had removed 1.3 million pieces of content related to firearms between April and June 2020 from its platforms.