10 and Done for a Gun?

June 24, 2022

Mass shootings are an unfortunate part of US history well before the Columbine massacre. However, the prominence of school shootings and in other public places has gained a horrible commonplace in our society. What makes these massacres different from ones in the past is the availability of mass assault weapons like AK-47s. When similar attacks occurred in Australia, England, and Japan, their governments responded accordingly by outlawing all assault weapons and/or limited access to firearms. These countries have not had any incidents since these laws were enacted. Over twenty years later, the United States is still slow to act as our social media platforms, but Ars Technica says, “Facebook Enforces Ban On Gun Sales With 10-Strikes-And You’re Out Policy.”

Facebook does not want users to use the Facebook Marketplace to sell firearms. Users are given ten warnings about selling and purchasing guns before they are banned from the platform. The gun-selling policy is more lenient than its child pornography policy and sharing terrorist images. Child porn is illegal and posting terrorist activity is heavily monitored. Both get kicked off the platform, but selling guns that could possibly be used in a public attack are tolerated nine times before you are out? Facebook commented that:

“ ‘Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said in a statement that the company quickly removes posts that violate its policy prohibiting gun sales and imposes increasingly severe penalties for repeat rule-breakers, including permanent account suspension…’

Stone was quoted as saying, ‘If we identify any serious violations that have the potential for real-world harm, we don’t hesitate to contact law enforcement. The reality is that nearly 90 percent of people who get a strike for violating our firearms policy accrue less than two because their violations are inadvertent and once we inform them about our policies, they don’t violate them again.’

Facebook uses the strike system to impose a tiered set of punishments for various types of violations, with warnings escalating to temporary restrictions on posting content as a user piles up more strikes.”

Selling guns legally is and should be allowed, but it should be heavily monitored and enforce penalties for violators. Illegal gun sales should not be tolerated one, two, or ten times on any platform. It is easier to buy a gun in the United States than a car, medicine, and, in some cases, gasoline.

Other countries learn, but the United States is slower than a room of monkeys typing out the entire works of Shakespeare to protect its people and Facebook exasperates the problem.

Whitney Grace, June 24, 2022

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