Guns are easily available to buy online in Ireland, Newstalk’s Tech Correspondent Jess Kelly has uncovered.
Some 14 advertisements for individual firearms have appeared on Facebook Ireland today, Newstalk can reveal.
Newstalk Tech Correspondent Jess Kelly told Moncrieff that this “clearly” goes against the company’s own policy.
“It falls under the category of ‘dangerous content’,” she said. “It clearly says that ads must not promote the sale or use of weapons, ammunition or explosives.”
“This includes ads for weapon modification accessories.”
One such advertisement was for a ‘Life Card’, a portable 22 caliber gun the length of a credit card and the depth of approximately five credit cards.
There are at least 14 active ads on Facebook Ireland today advertising firearms. @jesskellynt investigated the ads, and tells @SeanMoncrieff how she went about purchasing one.
Get the full story: https://t.co/KluB1S9yaJ pic.twitter.com/3OzENaqngL
— NewstalkFM (@NewstalkFM) May 3, 2023
Newstalk consulted official sources ahead of the purchase in line with protocol and planned to destroy the firearm should it be delivered.
Jess noted that the website selling the gun, Kavita, had euro signs rather than dollars. She said Kavita “knew exactly where [she] was” and proceeded to sell her the firearm.
The Life Card cost €37.37, and the same product on another website cost over $300.
Jess was able to check out and receive email confirmation for her order without presenting ID or restrictions on the delivery of a firearm to Ireland.
To purchase a firearm, Irish law requires someone is over 16, has two character references, a ‘good reason’ for wanting the firearm (not including personal protection), a safe location in which to use the firearm, and other strict requirements.
Jess said Kavita said, “it’s your responsibility to ensure the Life Card is legal to own in your local area”.
The website also said you must be over 21 to purchase the firearm, but Jess said she was never asked to present age identification.
Following the payment and order confirmation, Jess’ order could not be found, and the firearm has not been delivered.
The Kavita website has also shut down, and multiple emails to the support line bounced back.
Jess said she believed the website relies on ‘viral’ products for engagement on social media.
“I get the impression that they look for products that go viral or that catch people's attention,” she said. “They run these types of campaigns.”
“And sometimes they're legitimate and sometimes they're not.”
Jess said the advertisement of firearms on Irish Facebook pages was “concerning”.
Current Facebook policies restrict ‘dangerous’ advertising of weapons.
“I do think a lot of this comes down to the language used in the ads,” she said. “Nowhere in any of the ads that I found does it say ‘gun’. Nowhere in the ads does it say ‘firearm’.”
“Obviously [Facebook] have very sophisticated technology that can run in the background. But I think what we found in this piece is that things do fall through the cracks.”