Shopify, the online shopping giant, has banned the sale of all firearms online. This snap decision was felt this week by one of Australias biggest firearm retailers Safari Firearms. Safari used Shopify for the sale of firearms and accessories. Safari Firearms had a backup in place, but many firearm retailers were left high and dry.
The move is surprising, as Shopify’s stock has rocketed more than 700 per cent since its 2015 initial public offering.
By banning weapons that are otherwise legal to buy, the company is pushing into one of the biggest political and cultural
fights in the U.S and across the globe.
Last year, activists pressured the company to stop serving conservative news site Breitbart’s online store ( Breitbart’s is syndicated American news, opinion and commentary website). At the time, Breitbart’s Tobias Lutke said commerce was part of free speech, and Shopify wouldn’t kick Breitbart off.
“If we start blocking out voices, we would fall short of our goals as a company to make commerce better for everyone,” he wrote. “Instead, we would have a biased and diminished platform.”
Shopify joins a long list of US companies bowing to the pressure of the anti-gun lobby. Earlier this year, Walmart, Kroger and Dick’s Sporting Goods changed their gun policies after a high school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Cole Leleux, CEO of Spike’s Tactical, said “It’s just crazy to go from no firearm policy to no guns overnight. We’ve been sitting back quietly while google stops us from advertising— we can’t advertise on Facebook, we can’t advertise on Instagram. We are a legal business in this country, and I can’t use the most popular platforms to advertise.”
Leleux alleges that Shopify’s choice to remove guns from the platform isn’t really about safety, but about the company removing items it disagrees with and furthering its own political agenda.
Facebook has also changed their policies this week on hunting and firearm-related content but more on that in a future article.