Repealing Section 230 could undermine the Second Amendment

Repealing Section 230 could undermine the Second Amendment

Debate surrounding Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 most often involves social media. But what about gun sales? The question is worth asking because if Senate Democrats get their way, they’ll weaponize S230 reform to target online gun marketplaces. Conservatives urging repeal of Section 230 are playing right into their hands. Section 230 enumerates in its “civil liability” clause that providers or users of an “interactive computer service” aren’t liable for third-party content posted there. Just as Facebook and Twitter aren’t liable for their users’ slander or misinformation, sites such as Armslist.com (the gun owner’s Craigslist) aren’t liable for illegal gun sales. That doesn’t sit well with Sen. Dianne Feinstein. She recently introduced The Accountability for Online Firearms Marketplaces Act. If passed, her bill would “clarify” Section 230 to strip online firearms marketplaces, specifically Armslist.com, of immunity protections. “It’s time to start holding accountable those who turn a blind eye to illegal gun sales on their platforms,” Feinstein said . If sites such as Armslist.com really were helping criminals to get guns, Feinstein would have a point. But that argument is weak. Removing protections from online firearms marketplaces would have no measurable effect on curbing crime perpetrated by prohibited possessors. That’s because criminals typically don’t get their guns online. A 2019 Bureau of Justice Statistics report examined the source of criminal activities involving firearms. After interviewing over 200,000 prisoners, it found only 1.3% of respondents obtained firearms through a retailer. The majority of firearms used in […]

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