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Instagram—A New Marketplace For Gun Sales

A view of an iPhone in Washington Tuesday, May 21, 2013, showing the Twitter and Facebook apps among others. A new poll finds that teens are sharing more about themselves on social media. They’re also moving increasingly to Twitter to avoid their parents and the "oversharing" that they see on Facebook.

Guns are being filtered by phones throughout the country. This is not a step toward universal background checks for gun sales, though, it’s quite the opposite. These guns are being photographed, filtered, and sold via Instagram.

Generally, online sales of firearms encounter very little, if any, regulation, and Instagram has yet to make a statement banning the sale of weapons via the social media platform. Though Instagram’s Terms of Use has policies against any illegal activity on the site, ThinkProgress reported that 62 percent of private online sellers agreed to make a sale to an illegal purchaser, which would include former felons and unlicensed individuals.

When an area such as the District of Columbia is examined, this relative lack of regulation on Internet firearm sales would appeal to those who yearn to own a gun, yet do not have the proper documentation for legal purchasing/ownership. It is well-known following the DC v. Heller case that the District has some formidable laws regarding the buying and owning of firearms. However, with the power to obtain a firearm a few keystrokes away, what does this mean for the overall safety of those who reside in high crime areas?

Gallup reports that 91 percent of Americans want stricter gun legislation in respect to gun sales with universal background checks, but Congress has yet to answer this call to action from voters throughout the country. With Instagram enabling buyers and sellers to exchange guns at the click of a picture on their phone, gun trafficking has now officially moved into the era of the App. However, 91 percent of Americans agree that gun sales should not become a trending hashtag on Instagram.

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