A handful of gun rights activists in Massachusetts and Washington state are chuckling today because a notice about a June 3 so-called “gun buyback” sponsored by a gun control group and clergy organization has apparently been pulled from Facebook because it violates the social media giant’s standards.
When the post appeared on the Facebook page of the Natick, Massachusetts Police Department, it did not last long after a complaint was lodged with Facebook by a Bay State gun rights activist. A source at the police department confirmed to Liberty Park Press via telephone that Facebook pulled down the Buyback notice and then notified the agency about its action. But it still was visible Wednesday on the Facebook page for the First Congregational Church.
Facebook apparently did the same thing when the notice appeared on another Facebook page operated by a local church where the buyback event is scheduled to be held. Liberty Park Press spoke to the person who filed the complaint against one of the churches that posted the notice on their Facebook page. Here is what the original notice said:
“Hope you can help us get the word out about the upcoming Gun Buyback Day on June 3rd! Sponsored by Citizens for a Safer Natick and the Natick Area Interfaith Clergy Association. Supported by the Natick Board of Selectmen, the Natick Police Department, the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office. Funded through the generosity of the Metrowest Health Foundation and Mutual One Charitable Foundation. Please share with your friends. You do not need to be a resident of Natick to participate. No questions asked or ID’s required. You can make Natick a little safer and treat yourself to a gift card in (sic) for your unwanted firearms.”
But there may be more than one problem with this effort, and not just with Facebook. When PoliceOne.com surveyed more than 15,000 law enforcement professionals back in 2013, one revelation of that poll was that 81 percent of the respondents “say that gun-buyback programs are ineffective in reducing gun violence.”
The June 3 buyback offers $50 apiece for rifles and shotguns, $100 for handguns and $300 for so-called “assault weapons.” They give ice cream coupons for BB guns.
The fact that no questions are asked at such events, which have become somewhat passé, has long bothered gun rights activists who see this as a way for criminals to dispose of guns they used in crimes.
When the Natick Wicked reported on the event earlier in the week, one reader responded, “This is (an) incredibly bad idea by groups who want to ban all gun ownership. They don’t understand the issues, the laws or firearms themselves. They are emotional train wrecks who are afraid of their own shadows and think this dumb idea will make people safer (it will not).
“Want to be safe? Take a firearms training class, get your firearms license and carry a firearm for self-defense. Ignore these crazy groups who want to turn the US into a socialist hell hole.”
The buyback will take place at the Hartford Street Presbyterian Church. A call from Liberty Park Press was not returned.
If there was a lesson to be learned from this, it would be that even gun prohibition groups can’t skate around “community standards” on social media sites. There are countless pro-gun groups with their own Facebook page sites and closed or open group designations.