Gun control groups are changing their tactics

If there has been one constant on the gun control front in the past decade, it’s that we’re winning. Ever since the Assault Weapons Ban sunset in 2004, we have seen continued victories on the political front for the pro-gun movement. Sandy Hook was in many ways the Battle of the Bulge for the anti-gun side on the political front, and like the German Army they lost. In fact, the failure to pass any meaningful gun control legislation in the wake of Sandy Hook has caused the smarter anti-gun groups to pivot their actions into something they’re better at: pressuring corporations to ban guns.

starbucks logo

In the current gun control fight, we’re facing a much savvier enemy than the old incompetent Brady Campaign. Mayors against Guns and Moms Demand Action may not be an effective lobbying group, but they are well funded and pretty smart on how to engage with media. Make no mistake, Starbucks was a loss for us and a win for them; and it was one that we handed to them on a silver platter.

Following up on their Starbucks win, Mayors Against Illegal MILFs is now looking to pressure Facebook to ban sales of guns on the site. The messaging here is that FB is being used as an illegal gun bazaar, which we know isn’t true. There are pages on Facebook that act like a classified section, where group members can post guns they have for sale. Those pages don’t actually sell guns of course, but rather are used to facilitate face to face transfers.

It is actually against FB policy already to sell guns on the site. Ask anyone who’s used a FB page to promote a gun sale at a retail store, those posts get memory holed by FB pretty quickly. But it’s not a violation of FB policy to use the site to coordinate a face-to-face transfer. Remember, that’s MILFs demand Hot Mayor’s current goal: a total ban on private transfers. Note the messaging in the article, and how the anti-gun groups are presenting these perfectly legal transactions as grey market backdoor deals. If you just read the Forbes article, you would think that people are using Facebook to actually buy and sell guns, rather than a vehicle to facilitate face-to-face sales.

Here’s a quick review of the facts: it’s already illegal to sell a gun to a felon. It’s currently against Facebook policy to actually sell guns on the site; but listing items and using it as a sort of message board to facilitate face to face meet-ups for private transactions is generally okay. Here’s the messaging from Moms Demand Action in video form:

It’s actually a pretty decent video; it uses the same music as Facebook’s wildly successful “Look back” videos, and it presents the discussion as “people are using Facebook to get around background checks.”

The question is how do we fight against this? It’s actually easier to fight legislation, because that has to be lobbied for, voted on, and can be defeated through good volunteerism and smart activism. This is actually a lot harder to fight against, because Facebook as a publicly traded corporation isn’t beholden to voters, it’s only obligation is to its shareholders.

Obviously, education is important. We have to point out that nothing illegal is happening on Facebook. Just because a police department conducted a sting operation that caught one felon doesn’t mean that Facebook is some sort of Afghan Gun Bazaar; in fact it’s far from it. The second thing to do is remember that Facebook is public; and this one is on us. Don’t say flippant stuff like “no background checks” in a public forum like Facebook. When I sell guns face to face, I only sell them to people who have concealed carry permits, so I can verify that they’re not a felon.

In short, the best way to fight this kind of activism is to not shoot ourselves in the foot like we did with Starbucks. Facebook is content to leave us alone, and right now the money we generate via advertising is more valuable than kowtowing to a bunch of anti-gun kooks. Let’s keep it that way. Stay on our best behavior, don’t say dumb things in public, and educate when possible about the real nature of a face-to-face gun sale.

10 thoughts on “Gun control groups are changing their tactics”

  1. IMHO Facebook has become a venue for the socially retarded/desperate anyway. Yes there are good company’s who participate there but on an individual user basis it is useless. “I went to zoomba today, yeah me!”” I hate Gov. ________””I got sooo drunk last night.” Blah, blah, blah. Let them have it, most are lost to reality anyway. They have to learn for themselves what is important in their lives. Same goes for any business that sides with the antis. When they loose half of their business, they’ll figure it out or suffer the losses.

  2. Starbucks did not change their policy. They asked people to refrain from bringing guns in stores but they still operate by State laws. I don’t see that as a win for them.

      1. And one could argue that we metaphorically shot ourselves in the foot by how some OCers acted when Starbucks said they follow local laws, “just please enjoy your coffee and leave us alone”

  3. One of the ads that is highlighted near the end of that video is almost assuredly a shill ad placed by an MDA member. The language is just to far out to have come from someone that is firearms familiar.

  4. The Starbucks thing was a loss for us simply because people stopped acting normal. If gun owners had just basically shrugged and carried on as they always had no one would have noticed or cared. It was when people started going in, taking pictures with big ass rifles and basically making a spectacle of themselves is when it all jumped the shark. That’s what forced Starbucks to say something. Otherwise they were happy to just be quiet and not say anything, and we should have been happy to act NORMAL. We want people to treat gun owners and carriers like ‘normal’ people (for those who don’t carry) and ‘normalize’ the *idea* of people carrying. Acting like a bunch of spoiled Disney World ticket winners doesn’t help the cause.

  5. At least in Blue/Purple states, corperations cave to tis all too easily. I’ve seen it in New Jersey and Delaware where the Big Box stores have stopped carrying guns and ammo due to a handfull of women saying “I don’t want to bring my children into a store where they carry ‘guns'”.

  6. So……If I wear a pro gun shirt,they will ask me to leave? How about the Mass. State flag fom the mid 1700’s ( dont tread on me).?

  7. Most people are not aware that Shannon Watts (she changed her name when she started Moms) is actually a seasoned PR pro that ran some of the biggest corporate PR shops in the country with staffs of 35…..one source claims that she pulled in well over a six figure salary and benefit package all those years and now her “non-Profit” corporation is raking in the millions from Bloomberg.

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