The major E-Commerce websites – Ebay, Wish, Amazon, Banggood are now all facilitating the sale of highly illegal items, with convenient shipping straight to Australia. This has been going on for sometime now and we have posted about it before. Items like suppressors and auto sears (that allow you to convert a regular semi-auto firearm to full auto) have been offered for sale on some or all of these websites, ready to be shipped to your door at the click of a button.
As some Facebook users have now likely seen, there is prevalent advertising on Facebook from the major shopping website sites for items that are restricted or illegal in all or parts of Australia. However, as many firearm owners are aware, attempts to privately sell unrestricted firearm related items have proven to be taboo for the hypocritical Facebook police. Want to sell a set of dies or a scope? Goodluck! Your ad may be posted, but it won’t get very far with Facebook preventing you from sharing it. Or you may even cop a ban for a few days. Exactly what happens with firearm related products on Facebook is very hit and miss.
In running these adds Facebook is demonstrating staggering hypocrisy, with their allowance of advertising for these blatantly illegal products. Let’s keep in mind that the purpose of advertising is to encourage a consumer to purchase a product. Therefore, the legality of Facebook in carrying these ads is highly questionable to us.
For the actual retailers this also reeks of hypocrisy, Ebay for example refuses to list many regular firearm accessories if they fit what they call an ‘assault weapon’. Amazon is much the same banning many innocuous firearm components, indeed they even claim to prohibit listing the items that can be easily found for sale. Paypal is also running payment processing for these items on Ebay and on other websites offering these sorts of illicit products for sale, once again in total contradiction to their stated policies and history in refusing to work with legitimate industry retailers.
From where we are standing, the anti-firearm’s policies of these online retailers and advertisers seem to only be applied to legitimate businesses and it is open slather when it comes to products that could get the purchaser a long stay in a prison cell.
This hypocrisy is not only an unfair act for firearm owners, but also an incredibly dangerous one. Quite often these items are seen as acceptable for purchase based on the advertising being so open and blatant, yet the potential consequences for these seemingly innocent purchases can prove to be highly detrimental if you are caught with them. We’ve all heard the story of the people who had bought solvent traps later being raided as those items are considered suppressors by Border Force, whether or not the final hole has been drilled. This is inline with the wording of the Prohibited Imports Regulations that unfinished articles are still regulated as the finished articles, therefore the ABF are working completely within their legal powers.
We’ve also seen the stories of people being charged with possession of replica firearms which were in fact gel blasters. It’s not uncommon to see police applauding themselves over the bust of an “arsenal” of illegal firearms, with many if not all of them being Gel Blasters. Charging people with possession of toys which never should have been classified as firearms seems to be a new hobby for police. Let’s be honest, having anything that looks even remotely like a gun in this country is likely to bring the hand wringers out of the woodwork. Regardless, keep in mind that these items so freely advertised on these websites can lead to the loss of your firearms, firearm license, and a criminal conviction and potentially some time in prison.
However ABF are not intercepting all of these items, we have seen in drug raids again and again Glock’s being seized with what appear to be autosears of the variety sold by Wish, along with so many suppressors it is hard to keep track.
While purchasing and owning some of these items in our view should not be illegal, allowing their advertisement and sale while they are illegal is highly unethical and potentially a crime in of itself. It clearly shows that as long as there is a dollar to be made, there are plenty of ways to bend the rules.