Shopify Bans Sales of Guns
The worldwide gun industry, particularly in America, has taken a hit as large onlinee-commerce platform Shopify has taken the decision to ban the sale of some guns, gun parts and accessories over the internet by retailers who use Shopify.
Shopify, the Canadian provider of online stores for more than 600,000 businesses, banned the sale of some semi-automatic firearms and 3D-printed guns.
Semi-automatic guns that can take magazines that hold more than 10 bullets, attachments that make guns fire faster - like bump stocks - and silencers or flash suppressors are all considered “restricted items,” according to the company’s rules, which have been updated. The popular and controversial AR-15, as well as other “assault-type weapons,” would fall into this category.
Spike’s Tactical, a Florida-based gun manufacturer, has built its entire website and online sales portal exclusively using the Shopify platform and conducts millions of dollars in sales through Shopify each year.
“This decision will have significant ramifications to our business and should concern every online retailer and Second Amendment supporter,” said Cole Leleux, general manager of Spike’s Tactical.
Some of the new amended rules in Shopify’s Acceptable Use Policy now include banning the sale of semi-automatic firearms that have an ability to accept a detachable magazine and are capable of accepting more than 10 rounds. Additionally, unfinished lower receivers are also prohibited, according to the new rules. Most of Spike’s Tactical’ s products include AR-15 parts and full rifles, which would fall under those new restrictions.
One of the things that makes this more challenging for businesses like Spike’s Tactical, is that Shopify’s platform is entirely proprietary, meaning the information stored on their platform cannot be easily transferred to another online platform.
“We have invested more than $100,000 in the development of our Shopify store, which will disappear once these policies go into effect,” said Leleux.
As for when these new policies will go into effect, that remains a mystery. When representatives from Spike’s Tactical reached out to Shopify to try to learn more, Shopify refused to answer any questions and directed Spike’s Tactical team members to the Shopify legal department, which at the time of this news release, has yet to respond.
Ironically, when challenged by left-leaning critics about selling Breitbart products in 2017, Shopify CEO Tobias Lütke said, “We don’t like Breitbart, but products are speech and we are pro free speech. This means protecting the right of organizations to use our platform even if they are unpopular or if we disagree with their premise, as long as they are within the law.”
It now seems that Shopify has reversed course on their previous belief, as our products are not only legal, but also used by many law enforcement agencies, Leleux said.
Another gun company, which will also feel the pain of Shopify’s recent decision is Rare Breed Firearms. Rare Breed announced the launch of their new Spartan lower receiver last week and the product is also sold online exclusively through Shopify.
“We have spent the last three years developing the Rare Breed brand and more than $40,000 developing our Shopify site,” said Lawrence DeMonico, president of Rare Breed Firearms, an Austin, Texas based firearms company. “Depending on how this policy is rolled out, this is a move that could put companies like ours out of business, and we will undoubtedly be looking to pursue legal options.”
Any other gun manufacturers or retailers who are also experiencing issues related to this new policy are encouraged to contact Spike’s Tactical, as they are looking at legal options to potentially file a class action lawsuit.
The NSSF, thefirearms industry trade association in America had the following to say, in a prepared statement:“NSSF (National Shooting Sports Foundation) is aware and monitoring the recent policy changes by Shopify. This policy update is misinformed and doesn’t contribute to increasing public safety. Instead, it limits customer choice and alienates law-abiding gun owners. Today’s gun owners can trust NSSF-member retailers, who offer online services, to provide them with the respect, dignity and service they have come to expect. When gun owners support these NSSF-member retailers, they contribute to a variety of industry-driven and effective public safety solutions.
“Those initiatives include NSSF’s FixNICS, the Own It? Respect It. Secure It. initiative, which is built on the firearm industry’s long-standing commitment to safety and was developed to promote and encourage firearm safety and secure storage. It also serves to enhance and amplify the messages of ongoing firearm safety and education campaigns such as Project ChildSafe.
“Other NSSF initiatives in cooperation with federal law enforcement include the Don’t Lie for the Other Guy anti-straw purchasing retailer education and public awareness program and Operation Secure Store that provides firearms retailers with information to help them better secure their facilities from theft.
The firearms industry welcomes participation in the conversation across the nation to make our communities and our schools safer. We will continue to lead and participate in finding and enhancing practical solutions that protect lives and preserve our citizens’ liberties.”