Gun enthusiasts react to new Facebook policy on selling guns

Gun enthusiasts react to new Facebook policy on selling guns

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Gun enthusiasts in the Lowcountry are reacting to the new policy change on Facebook that could make it harder to sell guns on the website.

Facebook announced Friday, January 29, it would be banning the sale and advertising of guns by private individuals.

"I'm a little bit perturbed by it," said Amanda Pace, the administrator of Charleston SC Guns and Gear Facebook group.

Facebook says it's cracking down on the sale of guns via their website.

This means groups like South Carolina Gun Trader, Charleston SC Guns and Gear and others are at risk of being shut down.

"I hate to see the groups get shut down by the policy change," said Tony Ranucci, a member of the South Carolina Gun Trader Facebook group.

"I don't necessarily think that they should restrict it," Pace said. "I think it's our right to be able to bare arms and to trade."

There are dozens of South Carolina groups on Facebook that specialize in the buying, trading or selling of guns.

"I'm a huge outdoor enthusiast," Pace said. "I like to hunt, I like to fish, so basically it's there for people who are like-minded. Just to trade items or sell items."

"Facebook is an organization of communities," Ranucci said. "Legal gun owners and Second Amendment advocates are most definitely a community unto ourselves."

However some gun control advocates feel these kinds of groups can be dangerous; putting guns in the hands of people who shouldn't have them.

Members of these groups feel otherwise.

"It's been historically proven that even the existing laws very seldom prevent the bad guys from getting a firearm," Ranucci said. "Criminals don't go through the established system to get their firearms. The system of background checks need to be streamlined and coordinated through all the agencies involved. Shutting these groups down will, in my mind, have no effect on the criminal getting a gun."

Licensed gun stores in the state require background checks on customers, these Facebook groups don't.

"I do try to screen people who do apply to the group," Pace said. "If I see any graphic or violent images on their page I do try to ignore them and block them from the page. But I do try to be a little bit picky on it."

Administrators of other closed groups said they do the same thing.

"Being our membership numbers are around 11,000, we've created a network of "watch dogs" if you will," said Jeff Kelley, the administrator of the South Carolina Gun Trader Facebook group. "We constantly get private messages from members about other members they believe are underage, do shady transactions, or look to be affiliated with gangs, or show illegal activity on their page."

"It does kind of fall on them to try to use a good conscious when making these transactions," Pace added.

Many said they wish the policy didn't change, but will follow the new rules.

"Facebook users have to abide by the policies set by the organization," Ranucci said. "If they don't they are subject to whatever consequences are outlined in Facebook's terms of use policy."

This new policy also applies to Instagram, the company's photo-sharing service.

Facebook is asking it's users to report anyone violating these new policies.

We've reached out to the company to see how else they plan to regulate gun sales, our email was not immediately returned.

Under South Carolina law, it's legal to sell a gun to someone who is allowed to have one.

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