Owens Gun Shop owner Ron Owen. Photo Lachie Millard
Owens Gun Shop owner Ron Owen. Photo Lachie Millard

‘There are worse things on Facebook than guns’

A STORY about a Gympie gun dealership taking on Facebook over what it was saw as inconsistent and discriminatory treatment against its business reached almost 60,000 people on the social media platform and drew 595 comments.

Click here to see the post

A post made by the owners of Owen Guns last week was prohibited because it contained images of guns, the stock the business has traded in legitimately for 47 years.

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The daughter of store owner and outspoken gun advocate Ron Owen, Megan Owen, said it was frustrating to be placed in the same category as illegal drugs and guns by Facebook.

Gun shops relied heavily on Facebook to advertise, she said.

Public reaction to the story was divided but passionate, with some arguing that Facebook was a businesses and was not obliged to treat everyone the same, while others thought Facebook was not an appropriate place to advertise guns.

Others argued there were worse things to see than guns on the platform.

"Doesn't matter if (selling guns) is legal. Facebook isn't the government and is entitled to make its own content rules," said Robert Knight.

"Cigarettes are legal. Cigarette companies aren't allowed to advertise," said Glenda Butler.

The question was also raised about just how much Facebook knew about its users, and whether or not it would or should treat people differently based on what they discussed on the platform.

There was also the issue of ethics, and exposing children and "weirdos" to gun ads, possibly giving them bad ideas.

Megan Owen holds an Austrian handmade 4mm Kalina Saloon Gun from the 1870s at Owens Gun Museum at Gympie. Photo Lachie Millard
Megan Owen holds an Austrian handmade 4mm Kalina Saloon Gun from the 1870s at Owens Gun Museum at Gympie. Photo Lachie Millard

"Well get your own website and advertise on there. I don't like these things advertised on Facebook for the fact that there are lots of kids on here as well as weirdos that even though you won't sell to these people, they may see the guns and get ideas and go looking for one," said Lilly Sanders.

Noeleen Paltridge said, "There are people out there that need guns, farmers mostly. So how are they to know what he has got if he can't advertise what he has?"

A screenshot of the response from Facebook to the Owen Guns post.
A screenshot of the response from Facebook to the Owen Guns post.

Mark Thompson drew a barage of comments when he called those against the advertising of guns "an illiberal intolerant bunch".

"People who are law abiding shooters have the right to buy legal products," he said. "Enough with the cancel culture because you have no experience in the area and feel uncomfortable."

Mark Michels said, "Advertising a product, there are far worse things on FB than a tool for farmers or equipment for sportsman."

Aaron Rowbottom said, "Pretty sure gambling tears apart more family's per year than guns do, so if gun ads are out surely gambling ads should be."

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