NEWTOWN — Sandy Hook Promise, a gun violence prevention group formed after the 2012 shootings in Newtown that killed 20 children and six educators, has created a page thanking Facebook for cracking down on private gun sales on the networking site.
Facebook and its photo sharing platform Instagram recently changed its policy and is banning private gun sales on its site in an attempt to stop unlicensed transactions involving firearms and ammunition.
In a statement on its website, Sandy Hook Promise said, “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 can promote illegal gun sales without background checks.”
Connecticut Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal applauded Facebook for banning users from coordinating private sales of guns.
“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,” said Murphy and Blumenthal.
Licensed firearm retails can still promote their business on Facebook but cannot accept orders or make sales via the networking site.
Facebook, which has 1.59 billion monthly users, already prohibited people from using its site to sell marijuana, pharmaceuticals and illegal drugs.
“Over the last two years, more and more people have been using Facebook to discover products and to buy and sell things to one another,” Monika Bickert, Facebook’s head of product policy said in an email statement.
The company specified that it is hoping to crack down on the peer to peer sales of weapons on Facebook.
It said that licensed firearm retailers will still be able to post about their goods and services on Facebook, with transactions of sales taking place off of Facebook.
Facebook said that it has systems in place to detect private gun sales and that it will remove content that violates its new policy.