Contact: Giselle Barry (Markey) 2022242742

Lawmaker concerned about possible gun sales to teens, evasion of state laws and background checks

Washington (November 4, 2013) - Senator Edward J. Markey (DMass) today urged the popular photo and video sharing online service Instagram to prohibit the use of its service to enable sales of firearms, consistent with policies adopted by other popular online marketplace entities. Currently, using a mobile device or smartphone, Instagram users can easily browse through an everexpanding universe of firearms available for purchase on the site by searching for terms such as "gunsforsale", "guns_of_instagram", "AR15", and "AK47", yielding thousands of results. Because Instagram's application enables a seller to publicize products widely without registering as a seller or otherwise disclosing his or her identity, it may possible that firearms sales are occurring via Instagram to minors, by sellers in states that have prohibitions on interstate sales of firearms, or by sellers who are declining to conduct background checks.

"We should not allow Instagram to be used as Instagun, enabling the sale and purchase of deadly weapons in possible violation of state and federal law," said Senator Markey, a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. "We need a clear picture of how gun sales are conducted and transacted through Instagram in order to keep dangerous weapons out of the wrong hands and off our streets. I urge Instagram to follow the example of other companies that have enacted commonsense protocols to prevent widespread weapons trading on their systems. I will continue to monitor this situation, and look forward to a response from Instagram."

A copy of Senator Markey's letter to Instagram can be found HERE.

Instagram is an online photo and video sharing social media service that has over 150 million active users. Its parent company, Facebook, already has enacted commonsense protocols to prevent widespread weapons trading, as have online marketplaces such as Craigslist and eBay.