20th Aug 2018
Shopify Bans Sales of Guns, Accessories
Many online retailers got a nasty surprise this week when they were notified of the e-commerce platform's new policy.
By David Maccar
According to this post on Ammoland.com, the well known firearm accessory manufacturer Franklin Armory received word of the change this week without warning that many of the items it sells, which are legal to own and use in a majority of states across the country,
“Because of their lawful commerce in firearms, Franklin Armory has previously been discriminated against by financial services companies such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citigroup, First Data, Intuit, and Pay Pal. Social media companies such as Facebook, Google, Youtube, and Twitter have also operated under discriminatory policies to throttle down the reach of firearms manufacturers.”
Franklin Armory’s attorney, Jason Davis, said, “The firearms industry is under an unprecedented attack from the leading facilitators of interstate commerce that deny legitimate firearm businesses access to important structural supports of modern business.”
“History is replete with examples of discriminatory practices employed against carious societal segments. In almost every case, our nation has legislated equal protection for those segments to prevent unfair practices and discrimination,” said Jay Jacobsen, president of Franklin Armory, in the story.
“If Congress does not act soon to provide equal protection to all businesses, it is not too much of leap to see how only approved businesses or people will be able to buy or sell in future financial markets,” Jacobsen added.
“This decision will have significant ramifications to our business and should concern every online retailer and Second Amendment supporter,”
Shopify is used by more than 600,000 merchants to conduct online sales.
This post says that 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 the service annually.
“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, in the post.
Making things more difficult for retailers like Spike’s Tactical, is that Shopify’s platform is proprietary and the information they store can’t be easily transferred to another platform.
“We have invested more than $100,000 in the development of our Shopify store, which will disappear once these policies go into effect,” Leleux added.
The exact timeframe for the new policy rules is a complete mystery.
The post says that when reps from Spike’s contacted Shopify for more details, they were directed to the company’s legal department, which didn’t respond.
In 2017, when challenged by left-leaning critics about selling Breitbart mechandise, Shopify CEW 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.”
The post says Spike’s Tactical is looking at legal options and a potential class-action lawsuit, and invites other gun manufacturers or retailers who are having problems with Shopify’s new policy to contact them.