A Google Shopping search for ammunition will now result in, “ Your search – ammunition – did not match any shopping results.” An innocuous word for most, is now one of many terms that no longer fit into Google Shopping’s Family Status. The new weapon’s ban, announced May 31, 2012, is part of a policy where Google elects, which products are safe for the family shopping experience and which are adult oriented. While the ban is on several products, it appears that the firearms industry is the target of the ban. The list of weapons banned varies from guns and gun parts to knives and brass knuckles, just to name a few. Yet, stun guns, tasers, and swords are some of the items that made the cut and are considered safe for “family status”.
Google is trying to protect its first amendment right to promote what it considers family safe products, while firearm enthusiast are forced to concede their google shopping experience completely. The second amendment can protect the right to bear arms but can it not protect the right to advertise arms, sell arms, or shop for arms? The firearms industry has been steadily expanding for several years and e-commerce is an essential tool for dealers and consumers. Google might be surprised when the impact of their “family safe shopping” policy hits home as consumers and FFL’s support other e-commerce options. Firearms enthusiast don’t just buy weapons online.
If the policy is really about family and safety, where is the danger? National Shooting Sports Foundation reminds us of the already stringent regulations required for an individual to purchase a firearm on the internet. For instance, while an individual can “purchase” it, the firearm must be delivered to Federal Firearms Licensee. No transfer takes place until the consumer passes a criminal background check. Many American families share the experience of providing for and protecting the family with the use of a firearm or edged weapon. Many of these families would say there are more dangerous things on Google Shopping than firearms. Most would agree that the consumer should choose what is inappropriate by not making the purchase. It is baffling to think which is more dangerous, a firearm or the constant erosion of access due to ignorance.
Written by Amy Buser, reviewed and approved by Joshua Prince, Esq.