Groups urge Facebook to limit guns sold through site

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Gun control groups are pushing Facebook to holster gun sales.

Many Facebook members use their profiles or pages to buy, sell and trade guns.

It is not illegal, but two groups, Mayors Against Illegal Drugs and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, want it to stop.

Some in Region 8 said Facebook is a good option to have if someone is looking for antique, unique guns, but others worry this is another outlet for guns to get in the wrong hands.

"We want to keep the guns out of the hands of kids and out of the hands of criminals," United Pawnbrokers owner Dale Barber said.

To do this, Barber wants social media sellers to run background checks on their buyers.

"Online's OK if they're doing a criminal background check on who they're selling to," Barber said. "We do that here. I think it's responsible for every person in the business to do that."

Barber said he denies about two percent of his customers because of their background checks.

He and the several gun control groups pressuring Facebook also worry about minors.

It is illegal for minors to buy and sell guns without a parent's consent, but that is difficult to regulate since people can lie about their identity on Facebook.

"We're very much against it," Barber said.

Another pawn shop owner said gun enthusiasts will always find a way to get a finger on a trigger.

"People are going to do what people are going to do, no matter what the law is," Express Pawn owner Mike Weatherford said.

Weatherford thinks Facebook should monitor these pages for minors, but said the responsibility falls on parents, too.

"I have ten and 11-year-old children and they are taught how to use guns properly," Weatherford said. "That way, when they see them on Facebook, they are responsible for that."

Both of these gun dealers agreed it is easier to conduct business face to face.

"There's going be risk with buying anything online, whether it's eBay, firearms, or any other product," Weatherford said. "And a lot of people still, they want to come in, especially for a firearm. They want to look at it and make sure it functions well before they purchase that item."

"You know what you're getting and you know who you're selling it to," Barber said.

Facebook has not publicly committed to taking any action yet.

There are no current numbers of how many guns are sold via Facebook.

Gun sales are also becoming popular on Instagram.

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