Readers of this column are familiar with the story of Brian Aitken, a gun owner arrested and convicted after moving in New Jersey with his lawfully-purchased guns. While his sentence was commuted by Gov. Chris Christie, Aitken’s personal legal problems have been far from over – not only does he remain a “prohibited person,” forbidden now by law from owning guns, but of greater concern to him is reestablishing legal rights to be with the son he has been separated from and has not seen in six years.
To rectify that, and to cover the enormous legal costs of justice that are beyond the means of most of us, Aitken established “Logan’s Heroes,” a crowdfunding site intended to help him raise money to cover lawyer fees and court costs. To date, he has raised about a third of what he needs, with 19 days left to go. And in order to induce people to donate, supportive businesses have allowed him to offer product incentives based on the level of giving, including simulator or actual range time at RTSP Shooting Range, a 30-round AR magazine from MagazineWraps.com, a two-day defensive handgun course at Front Sight, a custom Karmabit knife from HavocWorks, a 9mm handgun from SCCY Industries, a custom Glock 17, a Springfield 1911 from Omaha Outdoors and an AR rifle from Spike’s Tactical.
To help publicize the fundraiser, Aitken turned to social media, posting a picture of himself and his son on Facebook that included a link to the Logan’s Heroes site, which he then tried to boost to get more notice. And that did not sit well with the Facebook Ads Team, which promptly blocked it for violating Mark Zuckerberg’s political sensibilities.
“My crowdfunding campaign — which does not directly sell firearms or weapons of any kind — exists to help me raise funds to regain custody of my son, who was taken from me because I was a gun owner,” Aitken told Gun Rights Examiner. “Several of my posts have been suppressed … and a picture of me with my son was blocked … as a promoted post because Facebook’s Advertising guidelines ban any ads that promote ‘the sale or use of weapons, ammunition, or explosives.’”
“Thanks for writing in. I’m here to help,” an unhelpful Ads Team functionary told Aitken. “Your ad was rejected because it doesn’t follow our ad guidelines. Ads may not promote the sale of ammunition, firearms, knives, daggers, swords, bows or other weapons. Any ad leading people to a destination where they can purchase any weapon is not allowed.”
We can argue over what constitutes a “sale,” but this creates an even more restrictive set of conditions. According to this, if an ad goes to a periodical that in turn has ads for any of the “objectionable” items, it’s verboten on Facebook. That could presumably include links to newspapers that accept firearms ads, or sporting magazines and the like.
Case in point, I live in the circulation area of The Cleveland Plain Dealer, which has an active Facebook presence. The Plain Dealer, in turn, features classified ads in their online edition that include this gem:
Auctions & Liquidation Sale Firearms and Military Auction! A Continuation of the Harry Yee Collection! Wed. February 25 at 7:00PM Eastern Preview starts at 5PM Over 200 Lots of Rare Firearms and Military Items! Live Auctions with Live Online Bidding www.Rush2Arms.com John Farkas, Auctioneer/FFL Antiques and Estate Auctioneers 861 W. Bagley Rd. Berea, OH 44017 440-647-4007
Let’s hope The Plain Dealer doesn’t boost posts.
Or forget newspapers and magazines – how about the Kentucky State Police? Here they are on Facebook, and here they are on the website they link to selling confiscated weapons. They’re probably safe though, unless someone approved a social media advertising budget. For now.
“Progressives” aren’t content to just ban guns – there are still plenty of ideas that threaten their agenda. And while Facebook still permits advocacy “as long as it doesn’t lead to the sale of any weapons,” the way things are going, it’s not all that hard to imagine such groups labeled “right wing extremists” and worse in the future. Calling on state enforcers to “round up hate speech promoters” has already been floated, so it’s not that difficult to envision government –serving restrictions placed on such dissidents the same way Zuckerberg’s social (engineering) media gets down on its knees and services the Chi-coms.
They don’t much like guns in private hands either.