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Facebook Wants To Block Illegal Gun Sales 310

Posted by Soulskill
from the time-to-mistakenly-invoke-the-constitution dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Most of the time, Facebook allows its users to hawk goods or solicit donations on Pages or Timeline postings, comparing such activity to placing a physical note on a bulletin board at a supermarket. Now it plans on regulating users who rely on this method to sell what it calls 'regulated' items, which includes firearms. 'Any time we receive a report on Facebook about a post promoting the private sale of a commonly regulated item, we will send a message to that person reminding him or her to comply with relevant laws and regulations. We will also limit access to that post to people over the age of 18,' Facebook announced as part of the new rules. The social network will also prevent users from posting any sort of items 'that indicate a willingness to evade or help others evade the law,' which means no offers to sell firearms across state lines or without a background check. Presumably, Facebook will have filters in place that allow it to scan for such content. Facebook is a private network, of course, and not (despite its ubiquity) a public utility — meaning it can do whatever it wants with regard to Terms of Use. But that likely won't stop some people from complaining about what they perceive as the company overstepping its boundaries."
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Facebook Wants To Block Illegal Gun Sales

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  • by Pizza (87623) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @06:37PM (#46413557) Homepage Journal

    It's expressly legal for private inviduals to sell to other private individuals (without crossing state lines) without a background check; indeed it's *illegal* for said private individuals to perform such a background check, at least on the federal level.

    Now you may have some sort of state/local law that requires checks between inviduals, but sheesh.

    • True, but it's definitely NOT legal to sell a gun to somebody you know, or can reasonably be expected to know, can't legally buy one. So, if your buyer says "I'm a convicted felon," definitely not legal. If your buyer says "you're not going to require a background check, are you?" you're on very shaky ground, since that's very close to an admission that, were there to BE a background check, the buyer wouldn't pass. Remember, willful blindness isn't a defense.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Lord Kano (13027)

        That's not necessarily true.

        I can pass a background check. I have passed a lot of them.

        I still understand how someone could like the idea of the government not having a record that they own a gun.

        BTW, that's what opposition to "Universe Background Checks" is about. It would create a backdoor registry.

        LK

        • As I said, the fact that someone is trying to avoid a background check isn't per se an indication that the sale would be illegal, but it does raise the risk for the seller.

          • by Lord Kano (13027)

            Another question that works just as well is

            "No sales tax, right?" private sellers don't charge sales tax either so there's pretty much a one to one relationship between background checks and sales tax.

            Solves your dilemma, right?

            LK

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Bartles (1198017)
          I think we need a federal database of everyone that has had an abortion. How would you like that?
          • by hondo77 (324058)
            We might like it better if you gave an actual reason for wanting such a thing.
            • by Bartles (1198017)
              So when the Christian Fundamentalists take control, they can round up all the babykillers and send then to work camps. Or maybe just publicly ostracize and shame them. Or maybe even so the database can be leaked to a newspaper, and the names and addresses will be published.
      • by Bartles (1198017)
        It's always illegal to purchase a firearm if you are a convicted felon. There is no judgement call or ambiguities involved.
      • by Arker (91948) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @08:21PM (#46414461) Homepage
        Your assumption is that any expression of distaste for a background check is an indication the buyer would not pass one. It's an errant assumption.

        No one wants to go through the background check because that creates a paper trail that any future administration could then use as a list of people that need to be rounded up. So quite naturally people are not willing to go through it in a situation where it is not legally required.

        You are required to keep a record of the transaction with the serial number. If the weapon you sold were used in a crime later, it will be traced back to you. The original retail sale is on record, that person (if not you) will then produce the name of the person he sold it to, which is either you or will lead to you via reiterating the same process. If you cannot produce the weapon or produce a receipt showing who you sold it to, then you're in trouble. But until and unless there is a criminal investigation to justify the intrusion, that information is no one's business.
        • by Obfuscant (592200)

          ... because that creates a paper trail that any future administration could then use as a list of people that need to be rounded up.

          It's not even that. You say it later:

          that information is no one's business.

          There is/was quite a brouhaha (at least in our area) over the sudden decision that concealed carry permit applications were public records, and that some newspapers were getting the records and publishing maps of the houses of permit holders. Those who filled out the forms had no expectation that the data was a public record, and the form didn't tell them that it was. Some of the local sheriffs went on record as saying they were not going to treat them as public recor

        • by x0ra (1249540)
          When I was living in Quebec, I refused to buy "non-restricted" firearms from fellow Quebeker because all of them wanted to have the gun transferred/registered, which is, by federal law, illegal. So by your logic, by refusing to endorse the illegal behavior of Quebec's CFO, I am not to be trusted to be properly licensed (which is the only constraint we have for non-restricted firearms), and be seen as "trying to get around the law" ?
    • ... indeed it's *illegal* for said private individuals to perform such a background check, at least on the federal level.

      There is no federal law restricting private individuals from running a criminal background check prior to selling a firearm. I guess what you mean to say is that private individuals can't use the federal NICS system [fbi.gov] to perform the check unless they are Federal Firearms Licensees registered with the FBI.

      • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @08:18PM (#46414409)

        There is no federal law restricting private individuals from running a criminal background check prior to selling a firearm. I guess what you mean to say is that private individuals can't use the federal NICS system [fbi.gov] to perform the check unless they are Federal Firearms Licensees registered with the FBI.

        Which makes it impossible for a private individual to do a Background Check. Remember, a background check for firearms sale purposes is DEFINED as using the NICS system.

        • Which makes it impossible for a private individual to do a Background Check. Remember, a background check for firearms sale purposes is DEFINED as using the NICS system.

          A background check is defined that way only for FFL's. IOW, the only way a FFL can legally sell a firearm is by clearing the buyer through the NICS. Private citizens may perform a background check on a potential gun buyer (through the usual private channels) if it suits them. There is absolutely no federal law against doing so. The post I originally replied to suggested otherwise.

          But tell you what, if you can show me a federal law that says "the only legal method of performing a background check prior t

          • by AK Marc (707885)
            So you are arguing over what the definition of is is. You point out that it's illegal for a "background check" as done by FFL, the most common kind, to be done by a non-FFL, yet object when someone else points out the exact same thing, using slightly different (and, from my perspective, more accurate) wording.

            But tell you what, if you can show me a federal law that says "the only legal method of performing a background check prior to the sale of a firearm is through the NICS", I'll be happy to change my mind. : )

            Try "the only legal method of performing a background check prior to the sale of a firearm for an FFL is through the NICS," and that "required" check is not usable by non FFL for checking buyers, so i

        • by x0ra (1249540)
          So only FFL dealers can ask you to fill a 4473 ?
  • Encryption... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by canadiannomad (1745008) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @06:41PM (#46413599) Homepage

    So if I were to try to promote the use of encryption in private communications, would that be "a willingness to evade or help others evade the law?"
    Nothing to hide, and all that...

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @06:43PM (#46413623) Homepage

    I can sell assault weapons for cash all day long in my state to private people without even getting their name. and "GASP" most of my "DANGEROUS ASSULT WEAPONS" are unregistered as well..

    Oh the horror....

    That said, the last place I would sell them is to twits on Facebook. Cripes even ebay twits are not worth dealing with. There are plenty of great private gun selling sites that have people that understand the values and have clues...

    • by harrkev (623093) <[gro.ylimafnoslerrah] [ta] [dsmfk]> on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @07:05PM (#46413849) Homepage

      First, how do you even define an "assault weapon." An "assault rifle," as defined by Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] is capable of select-fire (AKA machine gun). Those are 100% not OK to just sell, as you need a $200 federal permit, and the approval of a local law-enforcement agency.

      However, the term "assault weapon" is more fuzzy, at least according to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org].

      What I absolutely love is how the definition (to borrow from Wikipedia again) includes:

      In discussions about firearms laws and politics in the U.S., assault weapon definitions usually include semi-automatic firearms with a detachable magazine and one or more cosmetic, ergonomic, or safety features, such as a flash suppressor, pistol grip, or barrel shroud, respectively.

      Wow. Adding a safety feature and cosmetic features changes the categories. This makes as much sense as taking a street-legal car, painting it red, adding a rear spoiler, roll bars, and suddenly it is a race car that is not legal for street use.

      Seriously, all of this talk about assault weapons gets tiresome. If somebody was shooting at me, the color of the rifle and the presence or absence of a pistol grip would be the last thing on my mind.

      • by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @07:06PM (#46413855) Homepage

        I use the liberal definition. It's scary and black.

        • by harrkev (623093) <[gro.ylimafnoslerrah] [ta] [dsmfk]> on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @07:13PM (#46413907) Homepage

          I use the liberal definition. It's scary and black.

          That definition did not work out so well when applied to people. Nothing makes me think that it will work much better here.

          After a shooting, the government tries to make us safer by restricting the rights of the 99.999% of the people who did nothing wrong.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Lord Kano (13027)

          Liberals find every black person terrifying if they are not actively pandering to said black person at that moment.

          LK (A big black guy)

          • by hondo77 (324058)

            Liberals find every black person terrifying if they are not actively pandering to said black person at that moment.

            That would be so funny if it wasn't so moronic.

            h77 (A big liberal guy)

        • by DaHat (247651)

          It's scary and black.

          Racist!

          I guess this means that my wife's pink AR-15 variant with Hello Kitty stickers isn't an assault weapon... wheew!

        • I use the liberal definition. It's scary and black.

          Well, the conservatives in Canada have just banned [www.cbc.ca] a green one, so it looks like we'll need to broaden it a little bit.

          • by x0ra (1249540)
            NOT the conservatives, the RCMP did. They have their own agenda, as well as authoritarian power to decide whether or not to prohibit a firearm. The minister of public safety, Steven Blaney, issued an amnesty, but it still did not change the loss /enjoyment/ of property for thousand of law abiding canadians....
      • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @07:19PM (#46413957) Journal

        However, the term "assault weapon" is more fuzzy, at least according to Wikipedia.

        Wikipedia has it right, in its own "being unbiased in the wording" way.

        "Assault Rifle" is a technical term in warfare. It first applied to a particluar select-fire rifle short enough to avoid getting hung up when popping up through the hatch of a tank to fire at surrounding infantry (or otherwise going through tight spaces), and since has been applied to others with simiilar characteristics. This trades away some accuracy for rapid fire and rapid movement.

        "Assault Weapon" is a term invented by antigunners and defined in particular laws, to confuse the population about proposed gun control laws by making them appear to be banning military design Assault Rifles when they actually ban a hodge-podge of civilian guns based on some arbitrary (and juristiction-specific) set of characteristics typically unrelated to any objective standard of danger or functionaity.

        • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @08:26PM (#46414497)
          What's really pathetic about the definition of "assault weapon" is the "exception list" that the assault weapon ban(s) included.

          For instance, an AR-15 clone is an evil assault weapon.

          A Mini-14 is on the exempt list, so it's not. Even if you modify the Mini-14 to have a pistol grip, a large capacity magazine, a flash suppressor, a tac-rail, it is STILL EXEMPT!

          So even if it looks just like the AR-15 clone from more than five feet, the AR-15 is an EVIL ASSAULT WEAPON!!1!1, and the Mini-14 is a prefectly legal varmint rifle....

          • by x0ra (1249540)
            There is no such thing as "large capacity magazine". The AR-15 has been DESIGNED to work with a 30-round magazine. This is its STANDARD capacity.
      • by PPH (736903)

        A quick review [imageshack.us] is in order.

      • by gman003 (1693318)

        The simple definition:
        An assault rifle is an automatic (including select-fire and burst-fire) rifle in a small caliber (either a short 7mm-class round like the AK47/M14, or 5mm-class round like the AK74/M16, although really anything below 12.7mm is an assault rifle). They are similar, but distinct, from the light machine gun (a squad-level weapon designed for sustained fire, using rifle-type ammunition usually from a drum or belt), the sub-machine gun (fires pistol rounds, usually smaller than an assault ri

        • by s.petry (762400)

          To be pedantic a 7mm would not include an AK47 unless you fail to round properly. 7.62mm rounds to 8mm, not 7mm. You correct that later by mentioning a 50 caliber size round.

          • by gman003 (1693318)

            True - I originally had it written as ".30" but decided to use metric and didn't think it through all the way. Although to be pedantic I never defined "7mm-class", which could very well mean 7.00-7.99mm (Wikipedia provides precedent here [wikipedia.org] - it seems the people in charge of gun classification *do* fail to round properly).

            However, we are quickly approaching recto-cranial levels of pedantry, so perhaps it's best if I just stop now.

  • by Cammi (1956130) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @06:48PM (#46413653)
    FB is lying, yet again. They are currently deleting ALL firearms for sale/buy posts.
    • by x0ra (1249540)
      Not all of them, unless it does not address ammunition. I have 7 rounds of 7.62x39 for sale, and it's still up.
  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @06:49PM (#46413667) Homepage Journal

    So, Facebook will start harassing people who sell guns... and people will just go somewhere else to buy and sell guns.

    Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if a number [armslist.com] of sites [slashdot.org] cropped up for just that purpose - the legal transfer of a firearm from one private citizen to another.

    You can't stop the signal.

  • Since Facebook does not verify addresses and has no way of knowing where the sale is actually being transacted, this is just total nonsense.
  • by tlambert (566799) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @07:01PM (#46413805)

    Fackebook prohibits all weapons sales. They always have. I don't see why illegal weapons sales are a big deal here, given that "illegal" is a subset of "all".

    This is not news, because it's not new.

    • Fackebook prohibits all weapons sales. They always have. I don't see why illegal weapons sales are a big deal here, given that "illegal" is a subset of "all".

      This is not news, because it's not new.

      But is nice bait to stir up the gun-nuts.

  • by loony (37622)

    They are a private company and can (or should be) allowed to impose whatever rules they want... Its only the federal government that is required to adhere to the bill of rights. So until the Constitution gets amended, we can argue about how illegal background checks, waiting periods, and registration by the federal government are - but there is absolutely nothing you can say about FB doing whatever they feel is right.

    Peter.

    • by x0ra (1249540) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @07:08PM (#46413867)
      And we, gun owners, are free to criticize FB to do so.
      • by Nimey (114278)

        And we other gun owners are free to mock you for being idiots.

    • I'm amazed that anyone who considers themselves a freedom loving American would sell out to a sleazebag liberal corporate-whore advertising goat-raper* like Facebook. In fact, I'm not even sure why this is on slashdot, since - based on most FB stories - almost nobody here is even signed up for the service.

      *not my words, just repeating what I've read about FB on /.

      • by Tailhook (98486)

        I'm amazed that anyone who considers themselves a freedom loving American

        Likewise. It would be interesting to actually analyze the "ads" that Facebook has actually removed. My bet is they fall into three categories; thug life types passing around $50 zinc belly guns, the fabulously stupid, and all of the above. Competent gun owners don't resell guns on fucking Facebook.

        Anyhow, precious few of us will be the least bit upset about Facebook's little manufactured controversy. Corporate anti-gun grandstanding is about as novel as Guardian stories on Israeli "crimes."

  • by theodp (442580) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @07:11PM (#46413883)

    FORTUNE [cnn.com]: When he's not too busy connecting people across the universe, Mark Zuckerberg is pursuing a new "personal challenge," as he calls it. "The only meat I'm eating is from animals I've killed myself," says the Facebook founder and CEO...Zuckerberg's new goal came to light, not surprisingly, on Facebook. On May 4, Zuckerberg posted a note to the 847 friends on his private page: "I just killed a pig and a goat."

  • This amounts to the sort of censorship that online forums and chatrooms/services have been attempting to do for a long time now. Problem is wordfilters don't work, there's always a way around them, and faster than they can add terms to the wordfilter, someone comes up with another euphemism or substitute for the word or phrase being blocked. Same thing will happen here, they'll just come up with different words to say "gun for sale", and Failbook will never be able to keep up with the evolution of the langu
  • by Lawrence_Bird (67278) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @08:39PM (#46414589) Homepage

    Facebook does not want to be hounded by the anti-gun/do-it-for-the-children/omfg-i'm-scared lobby.

    • I think they would prefer to be hounded by those, as opposed to the NRA. If the recent events have shown anything, it's that anti-gun petitions and demonstrations are significantly less numerous than pro-gun ones - simply because most people who are vaguely for stricter gun control don't care all that much about it (not enough to get their ass off the chair and do something, basically), while a significant proportion of gun owners will treat gun control as a very serious issue and are willing to invest a co

  • by jcr (53032) <jcr&mac,com> on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @08:57PM (#46414717) Journal

    What are they going to do, delete Eric Holder's account?

    -jcr

  • by RogueWarrior65 (678876) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @11:41AM (#46419291)

    There is no legal requirement to run a background check for interstate sales of long guns. Period. Interstate sales of handguns must go through an FFL dealer. There is no legal requirement to perform a background check or go through a dealer for INTRAstate sales from person to person. That's the law. If Facebook doesn't like that, who the f*ck are they to make their own laws that supersede federal laws? Imagine how ugly things would get if someone decided that a photo ID was required to vote. Oh, wait, that did happen and the feds stomped all over it. Bottom line is that if someone wants to get a gun without going through legal methods, they are going to find a way. Criminals don't care how many laws they break.

    Beyond this issue, this is an illustration of Facebook thinking it's important.

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