Gun Laws & Legislation

Google bans gun sales on US shopping center

Josh Peterson Tech Editor
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Google is banning the sale of weapons and ammunition within its shopping center, causing firearms owners to second guess their use of the search giant.

The company announced on May 31 that it would be changing its product search policies for Google Shopping.

“All of the items in your feed must be in compliance with Google Shopping policies,” the company said on the site’s support center. “In particular, all items have to be family safe.”

The company listed “guns, ammunition and knives” as part of its products list “not allowed on Google Shopping.”

The rule seems to have started to take effect. As of June 28, queries for items such as “Colt 1911 Pistol,” “12 gauge ammo” and “Colt .45” are met with a “did not match any shopping results” page.

Searches for “Remington,” however, still turned up a result for a shotgun made by the gun manufacturer. A search for “50 caliber sniper rifles for sale” currently turns up results for paintball guns.

Other items now prohibited for sale on the site include vehicles, tobacco and cigarettes, traffic devices, products “related to casino and gambling,” products or digital goods “that require additional software installation in order to be purchased” and products “bundled with service plans.”

“We’ve given much thought to our stance on this content, as well as the potential effect our policy decision could have on our Merchants, and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you,” said The Google Shopping Team in an email sent to online firearms retailers found to be in non-compliance with the company’s new policies.

The email from The Google Shopping Team was posted on the gun forum

“Well I was just getting ready to get a new Android phone, looks like Apple will get the [business],” said one user. Another user said that they have “begrudgingly started using” due to the change.

A search on for an item such as “1911 pistol for sale” turns up results that included various firearms, airsoft weapons and accessories.

“Google now has a worse policy than ebay,” wrote The Firearm Blog, which posted the email on its blog Thursday.

The eBay policy allows the sale of “some personal defense items, such as pepper spray and mace,” BB gun ammunition, non-military issued body armor and weapons manuals.

“Shame on you Google,” said The Firearm Blog.

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