In 2012, 6,371 people were murdered by hand guns in the United States. Yes, we’ve all heard that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” but it’s certainly far easier to kill people when you have a gun, than it is without (and I will confess to being extremely pro-regulation of guns).
Many believe it’s difficult to get a gun even as a regular person, and impossible for children, felons, or people without ID to get a gun at least legally. But this simply isn’t true; it’s becoming easier than ever to buy guns illegally from the internet through the use of websites like Craigslist and Facebook.
Yes, you can buy a gun on Facebook.
Richard Byrne Reilly published an exclusive article on Venture Beat yesterday that reveals this new trend. He was able to buy a gun in just 15 minutes without ID, without registration, without anything other than cold hard cash.
“A VentureBeat investigation has uncovered dozens of pages on Facebook where guns are for sale, including semi-automatic weapons, handguns and silencers. While the transactions don’t actually happen on Facebook, the social network is a remarkably easy way to find shady people willing to sell you a weapon — no questions asked. The illegal transactions then take place in diners, dark parking lots, and isolated country roads — away from the prying eyes of the feds and local police.”
This is frankly terrifying. I live in a city where gun-related deaths and injuries are all too common as it is, and this worries me immensely. It took me literally one second to find a page on Facebook where guns were being offered for sale. I’m not willing to reach out to anyone on that page to see if they will actually sell me a gun, but I suspect it wouldn’t be too challenging to do so.
The article discusses Facebook’s reaction, which is pretty much what you’d expect. From the article:
“You can’t buy things on Instagram and Facebook, nor can you promote the sale or use of weapons in advertising,” a Facebook spokesperson told us. “We encourage people who come across any illegal activity to report it to us.”
Two groups Moms Demand Action and Mayors Against Illegal Guns are working hard to get Facebook to change their policies to prevent gun sales being arranged on the site. There’s even a petition on Change.org that has over 75,000 signatures. But it’s unknown if Facebook will make any changes. It seems rather unlikely.
What do you think? Is this something to be alarmed about? Should Facebook change its policies?