clear
Sunday May 29th, 2016 3:39AM

Facebook to delete posts for illegal gun sales

By The Associated Press
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- Under pressure from gun control advocates, Facebook agreed Wednesday to delete posts from users selling illegal guns or offering weapons for sale without background checks.

A similar policy will be applied to Instagram, the company's photo-sharing network, Facebook said. The measures will be put into effect over the next few weeks and will apply worldwide at Facebook, which claims 1.3 billion active users.

"We will remove reported posts that explicitly indicate a specific attempt to evade or help others evade the law," the company said in a statement.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has been asking Facebook to adopt such restrictions, as have Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the group backed by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Moms Demand Action. Moms Demand Action collected more than 230,000 signatures on petitions calling on Facebook to act.

"Responsible social media sites know that it is in no one's interest for their sites to become the 21st-century black market in dangerous and illegal goods that place our families and communities at risk," Schneiderman said.

"I congratulate Facebook and Instagram for taking these simple, common-sense steps to protect the safety and security of their users, and encourage other social media sites to follow their lead."

Tom King, president of the New York affiliate of the National Rifle Association, acknowledged that Facebook is allowed to set its own rules but said he regards the new restrictions as "a kind of limit on our First Amendment rights."

Although his group, the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, doesn't sell guns, he wondered whether it could be blocked if somebody reported the organization's Facebook page.

"This is something that could greatly get out of control very quickly," King said.

New York has some of the nation's toughest gun laws. It requires a background check for private gun sales and prohibits sales of some popular firearms, such as the AR-15 rifle.

Under the new policy, Facebook would allow a user in Texas to list an AR-15 for sale, since the gun is legal there, as long as it wasn't offered for sale in states where the weapon is illegal. But the company would delete a similar post from someone in New York.

It would also remove posts from any state in which a gun seller says a background check will be skipped, even if such checks aren't required where the seller lives.

"This is one of many areas where we face a difficult challenge balancing individuals' desire to express themselves on our services and recognizing that this speech may have consequences elsewhere," Facebook said.

The company already has systems in place to remove advertising that is false and deceptive, and it prohibits ads for illegal drugs, tobacco products and prescription drugs.

There's no way to know how many guns are sold via Facebook, because the transactions are actually completed offline, said John Feinblatt, chairman of Mayors Against Illegal Guns. But such sales have occurred.

In Kentucky, for example, federal authorities in February charged an Ohio man with illegally selling a 9 mm pistol to a Kentucky teenager in a transaction arranged through Facebook.

In an online petition, Moms Demand Action warned that Facebook and Instagram could also be used to sell guns to convicted felons, domestic abusers or others barred under federal law from obtaining a firearm. That list also includes people judged mentally defective.

Feinblatt said Google Plus and Craigslist already prohibit all gun sales, legal or illegal. But he said there are "virtual gun shows" online. His group issued a report in December showing 66,000 active ads on a popular gun sales website called Armslist.

The report said 16 states and the District of Columbia require background checks for private firearm purchases.
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 1 year ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 1 year ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
State DOT awards $48M contract for NE Ga. road project
The state Department of Transportation has awarded a $47.8 million contract for nine miles of work on a northeast Georgia road.
9:37AM ( 1 year ago )
Business News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 1 year ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 1 year ago )
Maysville man dies from Banks County wreck
The Georgia State Patrol reports that alcohol and/or drugs were factors a single-vehicle wreck that claimed the life of a Maysville man in Banks County Tuesday night.
11:07AM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
GOP leader regrets talk to white supremacists; party leaders rally around him
House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
6:08PM ( 1 year ago )
Conviction of Putin foe sets off protest in Moscow
President Vladimir Putin's chief political foe was convicted along with his brother on Tuesday in a fraud case widely seen as a vendetta by the Kremlin, triggering one of Russia's boldest anti-government demonstrations in years.
6:03PM ( 1 year ago )
More Georgians signing up for health insurance
A federal report says more Georgians have selected health insurance plans through a federally facilitated marketplace.
4:16PM ( 1 year ago )
Politics
Amid shouts of 'shame,' House GOP defeats gay rights measure
Democrats shouted "shame," but House Republicans switched their votes and defeated a measure to protect gay rights
8:03PM ( 1 week ago )
CDC director Freiden warns GOP Zika bill is inadequate
The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Wednesday that a House GOP measure to combat the Zika virus is inadequate to deal with the swelling threat to public health
7:36PM ( 1 week ago )
Trump unveils list of his top picks for Supreme Court
Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, released Wednesday a list of 11 potential Supreme Court justices he plans to vet to fill the seat of late Justice Antonin Scalia if he's elected to the White House.
3:31PM ( 1 week ago )
1st US penis transplant could bring hope to maimed soldiers
A 64-year-old cancer patient has received the nation's first penis transplant, a groundbreaking operation that may also help U.S. veterans maimed by roadside bombs
8:04PM ( 1 week ago )
States dig in against directive on transgender bathroom use
Politicians in Texas, Arkansas and elsewhere are vowing defiance over the Obama administration's new directive on transgender bathroom use
9:19PM ( 2 weeks ago )