NSSF on Facebook Ban of Gun-Accessory Ads: Zuckerberg ‘Sacrifices Safety for Political Points’

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook. (Photo: Facebook)

By Larry Keane

Facebook decided – in the name of safety – that they would ban any ads for “accessories such as gun safes, vests and gun holsters in the US,” according to a blog post posted by the company.

The ad ban comes just weeks after a record-breaking year for gun sales closed out. More than 21 million background checks were conducted for the sale of a firearm and NSSF estimates that 8.4 million people purchased a firearm for the first time. It’s not just guns that are being sold in record number to these first-time buyers, it’s also everything that goes with firearm ownership – from ammunition to safes.

Not Safe Rhetoric

Now, Facebook believes that ads promoting safe firearm storage must be yanked at a time when there is record firearm ownership and these new owners need to know their safe storage options in the home. The ad ban will be in place through the inauguration week, sparked by an article from Buzzfeed that accused the social media giant of pairing ads for safes, holsters, body armor and other “military-related paraphernalia” with Facebook users who engaged with posts that were considered “election misinformation” surrounding the melee at the U.S. Capitol.

Buzzfeed was tipped off by Tech Transparency Project, which made the broad overreach that anyone who interacted with one of these Facebook election posts was a “domestic terrorist.”

That’s a bold claim to make about anyone who purchased a firearm in 2020 and happened to interact with a Facebook post. Just the rough back-of-the-napkin math shows that this is a gross overgeneralization. In addition to the 21 million background checks for gun purchases, 8.4 million people purchases a gun for the first time, at least 40 percent of gun purchases in 2020 were by women and the largest increase from 2019 to 2020 of any demographic group purchasing firearm was among African-Americans.

Juxtapose that against the estimated 5,000 who attended the protest on the National Mall and that equals Tech Transparency Project and Facebook labeling law-abiding citizens who had nothing to do with the violence at the U.S. Capitol as domestic terrorists.

Real Solutions. Safer Communities®

The firearm industry has campaigned to promote safe firearm storage in the home. More than 20 years ago, firearm manufactures began proactively including a locking device in every firearm sold at retail. NSSF leads the industry’s Project ChildSafe® program, part of the firearm industry’s Real Solutions. Safer Communities® campaign. Project ChildSafe which partners with 15,000 law enforcement agencies in all 50 states. That campaign has resulted in over 38 million free firearm safety kits, including a locking device, distributed free through communities across America. When properly installed, that locking device renders a firearm inoperable. It’s a basic level of safety every firearm owner should consider.

The industry knows, however, that a cable-locking device might not be the most practical option for everyone. Each firearm owner should evaluate their safe firearm storage needs, even as families grow and change. For some, a cable locking device might meet their needs, but others might opt for small safes, electronic combination safes or large safes that can hold multiple firearms.

Facebook’s ad ban denies their users, undoubtedly the majority of whom are among those 8.4 million first-time gun buyers, the information they need to make an informed decision to lock their firearm when not in use.

Facebook chose “woke politics” over basic gun safety to score political points. This is beyond irresponsible and NSSF believes Facebook should immediately reverse this decision. Firearm safety in the home, the safety of children and the safety of those who should not have access to a firearm, is too great of an issue to politicize and score cheap points. Safe firearm storage was one of those issues upon which all sides agreed.

Facebook’s weaponization of safe firearms storage is more than regrettable. It is dangerous. Choosing to satisfy media mob bullying over true safety isn’t making anyone safer. Facebook’s failure in this instance targets more than makers of these safes. It targets all gun owners – painting them with their broad brush and condemning them as guilty by association – however loose that association might be.

Larry Keane is Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association.

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{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Lee allen January 25, 2021, 3:11 pm

    Zuckerberg is an idiot that sold his soul long ago for money and power!! He is lost in his own misinformed world and has no clue of reality!!!

  • Clint W. January 25, 2021, 2:30 pm

    I comment here when I see something I can add to that is helpful. My comment here is I hope everyone venting their spleen has their Congressman, Senators, state reps plus the guvna in there email contacts. When you vent here, copy and paste it and send it to your reps, then make a copy and send it to your local fish wrap paper as a letter to the editor. Our paper has a 200 word limit, it is hard to say what you want to say in so few words, and they probably won’t print it, but right now, short of armed insurrection, that is all you got. Now attacks of First Amendment freedoms could you get labeled as a domestic terrorist though, keep your powder dry and your sights true.

  • oldfuzz695 January 25, 2021, 12:17 pm

    I canceled Facebook about a year ago. I don’t miss it at all. So many friends and relatives bragging about how beautiful and brilliant they are. The final straw was a message from a former co-worker, “Those who sleep with their dogs, give me a yes.” LOL

  • kc January 22, 2021, 3:13 pm

    I’m sure all his security is unarmed…

  • Joe January 22, 2021, 6:41 am

    What else do you expect from a butt licker like suckerburg?

  • bobs your uncle January 19, 2021, 12:57 pm

    Face book still allows persons promoting terrorist ideas and organization. John Sullivans site is still up, if you need to know how to dress antifa style for conflict and what type weapons, no red flag laws for johnny

    • Blue Dog (he/him) January 20, 2021, 9:16 am

      Antifa is an idea, not a group or an organization. Do you oppose fascism? Great, you are anti-fascist too.

      The name comes from the official name of the Berlin Wall, the Anti-Fascist Protection Wall.

      • Taxx73 January 20, 2021, 3:04 pm

        Antifa is not an idea. It’s a terrorist organization. We have seen the proof of that in the past 9 months. Every person I have met that identifies as Antifa they are some of the most fascist. They scream for conformity when people deserve individuality and personal liberty.
        TRUMP 2024!
        Remember if you come for mine you better bring yours!!

      • ES January 20, 2021, 6:28 pm

        That idea sure burned down quite a few small businesses and assaulted and murdered quite a few people

      • Kane January 22, 2021, 12:00 pm

        antifa is a decentralized organization with terrorist cells.

      • Jay Smith January 25, 2021, 5:34 am

        I doan theen “Fascism” Meens , what you theen it meens . Meester Blue Dawg ….

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