Facebook defends gun-law loophole firm as “political advertisers”

A gun safety group has criticized Facebook for taking what The Telegraph reports is millions of dollars in advertising money to sell permits to carry concealed weapons to people who lack real-life training in handling firearms.

The Telegraph quoted David Chipman, a senior policy adviser at the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence as well as a former SWAT team officer who has a concealed carry permit:

A company has choices to make, to look if it’s in the interests of their company to support people carrying guns that haven’t been trained to use them.

I would just want [Facebook] to make that decision with eyes wide open. You don’t get that training by answering multiple guess questions on the internet.

Facebook’s records reportedly show that the platform has taken in at least $3.7 million since May, advertising what’s called the “Virginia loophole”.

The Virginia loophole

Virginia, a gun-friendly state, allows people from other states to take an online class, pay a $100 fee and, after a background check, get a concealed “non-resident” carry license.

As local Texas station WFAA reported in May 2018, some other US states will honor the Virginia non-resident license, in spite of applicants never having to show that they know how to load a gun or shoot safely.

Showing that basic level of gun knowledge is a basic requirement to get a license in Texas. In fact, Texas law requires applicants for a concealed carry permit to complete at least four hours of classroom training, and to demonstrate that they can load and shoot a gun at a range.

But Texas residents, and those from other states, can skip right over the requirement and get a license online via the Virginia loophole. It’s as simple as answering 10 easy questions on a mobile phone, without ever actually touching a firearm or stepping foot inside a gun instruction classroom.

Thousands of Texans have obtained the Virginia non-resident permits. It’s unclear how many of the 50 US states honors Virginia’s non-resident carry permits. The Telegraph reports that it’s 30 states, while various sites such as this one say it’s 28. At any rate, it seems to be that more states honor it than don’t.