Should Facebook Allow Businesses To Give Away Guns?

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Should Facebook Allow Businesses To Give Away Guns?
[ Social Media]

Pennsylvania gun store Pittsburgh Tactical Firearms was running a giveaway for an AR-15 on Facebook, when the social network shut it down without warning.

Should gun sellers be able to run promotions for guns on Facebook? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Few things are causing more arguments these days than guns, and major Internet companies have made it more difficult for gun sellers than for most types of businesses to get their products in customers’ hands. Facebook is no exception.

In this case, Facebook shut down the store’s entire page, though as pictured above, the store has another one that is currently running. That one, however, is focused on survival courses.

According to The Blaze, the contest had been running for a couple months before Facebook shut down the page, along with another page the store had tried to replace it with. The Blaze interviewed the store’s Erik Lowry:

“I still don’t know what’s going on,” Lowry told The Blaze in a phone interview.

Lowry said three days ago he awoke to calls and emails from fans asking where his Facebook page had gone. Lowry used the page to keep Pittsburgh Tactical Firearm’s more than 27,000 followers updated on store and stock information and Second Amendment news.

Lowry has reportedly been sending Facebook message after message without response, though Voativ recently ran an article about gun giveaways on the social network, which shared a statement from a company spokesperson, saying, “Our Ad Guidelines prohibit promotion of the sale of weapons and the Ad Guidelines apply to pages with commercial content on them. Ads may not promote the sale or use of weapons, ammunition, or explosives.”

Lowry thinks the article is what led Facebook to take notice.

In an update, Vocativ shared another quote from Facebook: “Facebook strives to create a safe and trusted environment for everyone that uses our service.”

Facebook’s guidelines in this area haven’t always been the same. In fact, an update in 2011 lifted blanket prohibition of promotions (including give-aways) for tobacco, dairy, gambling, prescription drugs, gasoline, and yes, firearms, as reported by InsideFacebook.

As Josh Constine wrote in that article, “This does not make these kinds of promotions or sweepstakes legal — it merely means Facebook will differ to local laws rather than enforce its own.”

And in some places, such giveaways are legal.

Somewhere along the way, Facebook began taking a different approach. Facebook’s Ad Guidelines can be found here. The relevant section simply states, “Ads may not promote the sale or use of weapons, ammunition, or explosives.” The Pages Guidelines also clearly say, “Ads and commercial content (including Page post content) are subject to the Advertising Guidelines.”

Facebook is far from the only Internet company to have gun-related restrictions in its terms. Earlier this year, for example, Groupon decided to pull all gun-related deals. This caused a significant amount of controversy.

Michael Cargill, a gun rights activist, concealed handgun instructor, and owner of Central Texas Gun Works, called for a nationwide boycott of Groupon, saying his contract with the company had been “abruptly terminated”, after then Groupon CEO Andrew Mason “decided the company would no longer associate with any business related to firearms,” according to shooting sports news site Ammoland.

Last year, Google stirred up some similar controversy when it removed guns from shopping results. Additionally, Google has strict terms prohibiting guns and gun-related products in AdWords.

Are these companies making the right call when it comes to guns? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Should Facebook Allow Businesses To Give Away Guns?
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  • Shane

    Facebook were well within their right to remove the post if it violated their TOS. It’s up to people that use Facebook to ensure their content matches the TOS. Besides, it’s about time that Americans started realising that the world is bigger than their country and some of us want people to start seeing sense where guns are concerned. There’s a time and place to sell guns and it’s certainly not on Facebook.

    • Susan Smith

      If you don’t like those sites then don’t like page. It is for the ones that want to protect thier families…

  • http://none harvey

    Of course Facebook changed the rules and killed the site. Facebook was stolem by a lier and a thief (he lost the lawsuits. He’s a scumbag who does not care about agreements who does whatever he wants and always will.

    Don’t complain when you deal with such people and get screwed.

    Other than that, I have not comment on the issue of guns.


  • http://karras-bommer.blogspot.com Karras Bommer

    I’m so tired of seeing and hearing the ugly name Facebook. It’s everywhere online now, even WebProNews. Enough is enough.

  • http://www.sbwebcenter.com Steve

    Another bad idea by people trying to turn our country into a nation of guns and violence.

    • Susan Smith

      Go to sleep and wait yours is coming when the gov breaks in your door..

  • Grady

    Absolutely. If they are sissy, patsies, it should not affect our buying, selling, or giving away a weapon. It gets tiring having them change pages at will without our input. Then having no one to contact.

  • http://southshore-ebooks.com Jon K. K. Priestley

    Yes! No other comments available!

  • Me bush

    Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t know this was Nazi America now……

  • http://southshore-ebooks.com Jon K. K. Priestley

    I thought that the question about this matter was- “Should Facebook allow businesses to give away guns?” I stick with my answer- “yes”

  • Douglas Sowle

    Without question, they should be allowed.

  • Some Canadian

    Who was the dumb schmuck who gave that idea? Give away a GUN? Holy crap! What’s this world coming too?? Facebook should not even allow such a giveaway!

    • Susan Smith

      Go back to sleep Sheeple…

  • Al Haffar

    My dear WebProNews, FaceBook, Google and all are out to looking for their benefits, any thing that they do, carry out or even censor the content that is placed on their sites or search engine they will do, they are not THE PROTECTOR OF FREEDOM, LIBERTY, AND OR THE CONSTITUTION. No one should expect them to do anything but what is good for them and the bottom line.

    • Ron

      Sure about that? In a moral sense, every person, business, organization, whatever, would respect and protect the rights of all people.

      You are partially right, they are only in it for themselves. These people and their organizations have no morals.

  • Cameron

    YES, they should be allowed to run their business, which is operating within the numerous current laws, as they see fit. I hope facebook fizzles out and becomes the next myspace soon. With draconian policies like this, it is becoming worse than google. Google already has banned firearm related adwords. Use Bing!

    We need to enforce bans on violence, starting with governments.

    BAN WAR! (Where are all of the “concerned parents” marching for an END TO WAR?)

    Next, put violent criminals in jail for a LONG time. Put rapists and murderers in prison for life. Don’t give them more chances to harm people.

    Finally, teach people how to be GOOD PARENTS. Most of the criminals in society are violent because of childhood traumas due to abusive, violent parenting.

    If everyone knew how to properly raise and nurture children, our society would peacefully transform in 2 generations. Guns would become interesting relics of a bygone era, and not a single law would need to be passed to stop gun violence.

  • https://www.outofpawn.com/ Estate Jewelry

    Like <3

  • Rob G.

    Anything that doesn’t kill or Glorify Nazi’s ought be allowed to give away.

    • dave

      Everybody who carries a knife should be considered the same as a person carrying a gun!!

      They are both mame, and there are statistics to prove this.

      Treat both the same.

      Now – dont get caught with a carving knife in your hands ladies, becuase thats a dangerous weapon!

      Clearly its NOT the item itself is the problem – its how it is used.

      Dis-arming the community is not the answer while nut cases are allowed on the loose.

      PS: didn’t some guy blow up people in Boston recently, and he did not use a gun for that (or a knife). So now back packs should be illegal (thats what what they used to transport it).

  • http://Facebook Dave nelson

    As long as FB is a place to display free expression and allows other businesses to sell and give away goods, guns and ammunition have a right to be displaye, sold or given away. Restrict one business then restrict all business.

  • http://www.practicalsports.com Ron

    One Word, YES

    I believe i have entered other gun giveaways on Facebook before, maybe they just linked to another site. ??
    But you do know, Zucker has started his PAC, and is extremely left wing. We know facebook does care about privacy, why should they care about any other rights?

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  • Proud_TeaBagger

    Facebook has the right to do anything they want on their network. But if they decide to push their agenda anywhere else, that would be a HUGH problem. So markie zucker do not even think of it and stop pushing your anti America agenda anywhere other than your site. Do not like the United States of America or the Constitution and Bill of Rights then “F” off. Lock N’ Loaded? Now? When?

  • John Owles


  • http://www.iraqi3.com دردشة عراقية

    YES, they should be allowed to run their business, which is operating within the numerous current laws, as they see fit. I hope facebook fizzles out and becomes the next myspace soon. With draconian policies like this, it is becoming worse than google. Google already has banned firearm related adwords.

  • http://homesteadingandprepping.com/ Aaron

    Yes, guns are legal under federal law so why shouldn’t they be allowed to be promoted to those who like guns on Facebook?

    If you don’t like guns then don’t like gun dealers pages, simple as that.

  • http://www.discusfishcare.org Wilf Staton

    I think FaceBook and others are quite right about limiting ads for destructive products. Yes guns are destructive. They destruct peoples lives as can be seen by recent events. The gun lobby is only trying to preserve gun dealers profits and spouting the 2nd ammendment is only part of helping to preserve this.

    I watched a video the other day where the NRA president shown up as a complete imbecile when answering questions in an interveiw.

    • Larry

      Hummm interesting so they should ban politicians from Facebook as well, since they are destroying this country? Is that equal as well…….We The People don’t start these wars they the politicians start wars! Starting to see the rational behind your statement?

  • Vernon

    Facebook can run their business any way they see fit while keeping within State and Federal Laws. While I may or may not agree with their decisions, it is their business to run.

  • http://sweetnet.us/ Sally

    Will they ever learn? Guns are no answer. Everyone who wears a gun is willing to kill. That is against law and against God.

    Sally Starbride

    • Nate

      Apparently, you would rather it be a knife, bat or hammer? Here in the real world there are bad people doing very bad things on a regular basis. Unfortunately, not everyone can have armed personal protection against the bad people. Everyone who wears a gun is willing to protect themselves and their families and maybe an innocent civilian like yourself on occasion.

  • Two Dogs

    I think Facebook is dead wrong in shutting down the gun store’s facebook page for running a giveaway.

  • ChristinaB

    Facebook IS a corporation and can set their own guidelines and rules.

    • Larry

      Really so if I run a corporation and decide not to allow a certain ethnic group put purchase my product or services, then I would be discriminating! !! RIGHT???

  • Anthony Yagiello

    yes they should be allowed, firearms sports are the safest sports in the country.

  • Larry

    Absolutely! Are you allowing other businesses to run promotions, if your answer is yes then you are discriminating against that business and they should be considering legal actions against you!

  • http://www.graciousstore.com Nina

    Face-book has right to decide what kind of transactions or interactions people should have with its platform. So face-book has the right to shut down a business’ page that is using face book page to distribute arms

  • Eileen Hess

    Facebook is a free forum – true or false?

  • Mike

    Bottom line, it’s a regulated activity and Facebook doesn’t want to deal with FDA, ATF, etc. Basically if you require a state or federal license to sell (or give away) anything by advertising with another company, the authorities can go after the advertising company if something should happen. Same applies with alcohol, tobacco, etc., no discrimination against guns here, just Facebook protecting their business.

  • Gary

    Only in America!

    Just about every other country in the developed world has strict regulation of firearms and in nearly every case, far lower levels of murder and life threatening assault. (The number of murders per year in the whole of the UK is not much higher than the number of annual murders in Chicago!

    To offer free firearms on Facebook in any other country would be as unthinkable as selling Nazi memorabilia in Germany!

    • Nate

      complete BS… take away the guns and violent crime still exists because the bad guys still exist… the problem with gun control logic is that gun control only hurts one group of people… the victims of violent crime. Law abiding citizens need the right to protect themselves from criminals and in some cases their own government (American Revolution ring a bell).

  • http://none Al Colombo

    No, it’s wrong for Facebook to do this in a moral sense as it’s un-American. At the same time, users of Facebook do not pay for the privilege to post on this product, so FB has the right to set whatever limits they may choose. However, I do believe that society in general has lost its common sense. Many of us have allowed ourselves to believe that it’s wrong for us to own, buy, sell, transport, and carry firearms. Law-abiding citizens are not to be feared. Once law-abiding people are disarmed, only criminals will have firearms.

  • Tomme Stevenson

    The gun shop is a business that has the right to give away guns. (I assume the law in their state allows it) Facebook is a business that has the right to not support the activity of giving away guns. The individual business stakeholders make those decisions. We have the right to support any businss we like for any reason we chose. It’s the American way. The gunshop will gain some supporters and loose others because of their give away, the same for Facebook. There are those who do not like the decision in the hands of indiviuals, because it does not support their point of view. They will lobby for government intervention. We somwhow believe we can legislate morality. By making a law we change bad people into good people, opponents into allies.

  • John Mills

    YES. Is this not America? Despite what people want, or think are ‘for the best’ – we still have freedom, at the moment. Guns require a federal application – Not being able to give a firearm away is NO different than disallowing the sale. Guns are dangerous, but so is gasoline, dynamite, firecrackers, liquor, and about a million other things that are legal to buy — what is illegal, and should be – is the improper USE of such dangerous items. I really don’t understand the blindness of those who want to just STOP anything that could hurt someone.

  • John Mills

    I should have read the other comments and taken a moment to digest the entire situation, but responded immediately and irrationally – exactly what I always preach against….

    I agree with my prior statement only to the extent, the USA needs to back off on restricting freedoms.

    That being said, FB is NOT the USA (although they are controlled now by the US Government by means of Stock ownership). As a public forum, yes, they have the right and responsibility to limit their liability and the exposure of their content (weapons, nudity, vulgar language, etc…) to create a friendly and inviting forum. If they were to allow this, they should have a special section that would be restricted from other users – and from specific countries, etc… It has to be difficult to try to cater to the world.

    As far as statistics on violent deaths vs death by guns – there is a huge difference – and the UK my friend, has substantially more deaths by violent crimes (in percentage of population) than the entire of the USA – please, keep your facts from being distorted for a single purpose – it makes creates a situation where many people become unable to discern the truth, from a bent fact to support a non-truth.

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  • http://www.OctagonMarketinggroup.com sorayaali

    I am glad that Facebook shut down the gun promo.

  • http://www.nytfundament.dk Hjemmeside

    Absolutely not.
    Same as alcohol, smoking and drugs.

  • http://www.defensivetraining.co.za DuToit

    Guns are not the problem – the problem lies with idiots like FB (and BHO) who blame inanimate objects for violence committed by people. The first murder in the history of man was committed with a piece of wood by a MURDERER. Fix the the values people hold.

  • Nate

    This is idiotic of Facebook to make political stands on something like this. It is no wonder their share price is in the dumps when they openly are censoring and rejecting advertising that is far from offensive.

  • Christian Bardo

    I Thought this was The USA not The USSA. Anybody should be able to sell anything
    that doesn’t DIRECTLY hurt someone. The only reason the Recent massacres happened where they did is because they were ALL NO GUN ZONES. they didn’t happen because someone sold a gun on facebook. They happened because some government entity didn’t
    do their job. Examples Colorado University was told of the Aurora mass Killer was off and did nothing. Sandyhook was the only school in their city WITHOUT ANY SECURITY. VT was because they weren’t allowed by federal law to find out about the mass killer’s mental state. So yeas they should be allowed to give away guns anywhere they want as long as they are not have done anything wrong before.

    • Matthew Cummins

      Sandyhook was the only school in their city without any security? And THAT means it’s the schools fault?

      Grow a brain. In Australia we don’t have any school shootings and virtually no gun massacres of any type, and our school security consists of a fence around, that’s it. No guards, no metal detectors, nothing like that.

      I consider myself “centre right” in terms of political opinion, so don’t accuse me of being some left wing liberal, but you Americans just do my head in with your excuses for gun violence.

      Suggest you check this out form the daily show, featuring our former Prime Minister, (who was from what would incidentally be from the party that’s the equivalent of the Republicans over there!)


  • Pam

    No way should guns be sold or given away on Facebook.

  • Crosby Lanham

    I it against the law to sell weapons??? Online??? through a website????
    Well your answer in in the responsibility of the company to its clients and the government…

  • http://n/a Thomas Baldridge

    Absolutely NOT !

  • http://www.cpasitesolutions.com/ kenny

    I don’t see this as a moral issue. It’s a legal one. If FB explicitly bans gun manufacturers from running giveaway promotions they are implicitely taking responsibility for the actions of their members. This could put them in a position to be sued every time one someone gets screwed by FB scams or just shoddy businesses using FB as a platform.

    FB should stay far, far away from the actions of it’s member businesses unless it’s prepared to go all the way and assume the liabilities and responsibilities of a social media outlet that polices it’s content and members.

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  • Allen Eugene Booth

    Should the sale or giving away of firearms be promoted on Facebook? That is entirely Facebook’s decision to make. However, simply out of courtesy, Facebook should tell prospective advertisers beforehand what their policy is.

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