Guns Being Sold on Social Media?

By Seth Lemon
|  Wednesday, Feb 26, 2014  |  Updated 7:03 PM EDT
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Anti-gun advocates in Ct say social media sites like Facebook are making it easier for guns to get into the wrong hands

Anti-gun advocates in Ct say social media sites like Facebook are making it easier for guns to get into the wrong hands

Social media has changed the way many of us communicate with friends. But among the “funny videos" and " selfies" is a new concern about guns being sold online, particularly on Facebook.

“When I found that out, it was complete shock,” said Heather Waley from Moms Demand Action, an anti-gun violence group founded in light of the Sandy Hook shootings.

The moms said they learned people had been using Facebook to facilitate gun sales and promptely started a petition to change the website's policy.

And it's not hard to find guns on Facebook. A quick search for the word "gun" in their online marketplace brought up a Remington fireball pistol and a .22-caliber rifle.

“Facebook really is an open bazar,” said Rich Hanley, a social media expert and associate professor of communications at Quinnipiac University. “People can use it to market pretty much anything. ... There is nothing on the books now that prevents somebody from selling whatever they want online through Facebook, Craigslist or any other application or website.”

But Facebook says it's not condoning gun sales. A spokesperson told NBC Connecticut the site is not a commerce platform and no transactions are being conducted on Facebook. In fact, Facebook.com says, "Ads and Sponsored Stories may not promote firearms, ammunition ... or weapons of any kind."

The exception? Personal pages, as seen in this YouTube ad made by Moms Demand Action.

Facebook says it's a social network that connects people of all kinds and all different interests.

“Facebook will change its policy only if it's in its best business interest,” Hanley said.

Officials at Facebook did confirm the company has been talking with Moms Demand Action to review the site's policy on gun content.

But Facebook says that for now, it will only remove content that poses a credible threat of violence or violates local laws.

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