Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal applauded a decision announced Friday by Facebook to ban private gun sales on the social network.
“This is great news. Facebook is taking a powerful stand against gun violence. The decision to ban the private sale of guns over its social networking sites will make our communities safer by making sure that only law-abiding citizens can get their hands on a gun,” Murphy and Blumenthal said in a joint statement Saturday.
Licensed firearms retailers can still promote their businesses on Facebook, but they aren't allowed to accept orders or make sales on the site.
A Facebook Inc. spokeswoman said the new policy arose from the company's review of its rules following its recent efforts to encourage new forms of commerce on the site.
Sandy Hook Promise, a gun violence prevention group founded in the wake of the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, where 20 children and six educators were killed, also supported the move.
The group created a page where the public can sign on to a letter of thanks to Facebook for banning gun sales.
"Facebook should be a place to share pictures of loved ones, catch up with friends and find out what's happening – not a place where people are able to promote illegal gun sales without background checks," Sandy Hook Promise said in a statement posted to its website.
Facebook had announced some restrictions on gun sales and advertising in 2014, saying it would block minors from seeing posts that advertised guns. But the social network did not ban private sales at that time.
The new policy also applies to Facebook's photo-sharing platform Instagram.
“The fight against gun violence in our communities isn’t something any one person or organization can take on alone,” Murphy and Blumenthal said. “That’s why it’s crucial that other sites and online networks follow Facebook’s example and listen to the American people and take action to save lives. We won’t stop fighting until our streets, our homes, and our schools are safe from the scourge of gun violence.”