One of Facebook’s biggest advertisers is running an elaborate scheme to trick people into believing that a legal “loophole” allows them to qualify for and purchase concealed-carry permits online. The multimillion-dollar ad operation actually sells handgun safety certificates rather than legitimate permits, and urges people to buy them right away before Democrats intervene.
Facebook’s lax ad policies — and America’s notoriously loose gun laws — are working in tandem to create a dangerous situation where misinformed buyers could unwittingly end up carrying concealed weapons illegally, law enforcement experts warn.
Concealed Online, a for-profit company based in California, exploits a Virginia law that lets non-residents apply for concealed-carry permits after completing a safety training online. Through its website, it gives its customers the video training and a test, then charges them up to $130 for a certificate of completion.
Many don’t realize that they still have to apply to Virginia authorities for the actual permit, which is only valid in states with reciprocity laws. The company uses Facebook to hide this information and to run ads showing photos of permit cards alongside text such as “INSTANT DOWNLOAD” and “START CARRYING LEGALLY TODAY.”