CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Facebook is taking a stand against unlicensed gun sales.
The social media giant updated its advertising policy Friday, Jan. 29 to prohibit posts promoting the person-to-person sale of firearms and ammunition.
Some classified groups in the Heartland have taken notice.
"I'd say one out of twenty posts were a gun," SEMO Trade & Sell group admin Derick Charles said.
The group, which has more than 32,000 members, is the most popular of its kind in the area.
In order to stay within Facebook regulations, Charles is no longer allowing gun posts.
"It's received a lot of controversy," he said. "A lot of people are commenting on it."
Charles says he's worked hard to build the page to where is today and now it's a matter of following the rules.
"[Facebook is] a business so it's their right to do that," Charles said. "The group is so large I didn't want to risk it being shut down,"
Last week the social media giant expanded its list of prohibited advertisements to cover "firearms, ammunition, paintball guns, bb guns, fireworks, explosives, pepper spray, knives, tasers, or weapons of any kind, including those used for self-defense."
That's all in an effort, the company says, to curb unlicensed gun sales.
For Missourians, state law allows for private sales without certification.
Griffan Reutzel, a federally licensed gun dealer in Cape Girardeau, says person-to-person sales in Missouri are easy and happen often.
"Missouri law does not say that an individual cannot sell a gun to another individual," Reutzel said. "I would say the guys who are into guns, they like to trade more than anything."
Unlike private deals, businesses like Reutzel's have to conduct background checks before finalizing any gun sales.
Under Facebook's new policy registered dealers will still be able to advertise their products on the site.
The social media site says it will rely on its 1.59 billion monthly users to enforce the new no-gun sales policy.
That will force gun enthusiasts to find new mediums to conduct business.
Charles is hoping to retain his clients interested in firearms by moving gun posts exclusively to his company website.
"I may allow gun sales on the website because that's not part of Facebook," he said.