As more people keep loaded guns in their homes, efforts to sell them safety locks are being blocked by policies intended to stop ads for firearms online, reports the Wall Street Journal. Marketers like Facebook and Google often reject ads companies like Zore, the maker of a high-tech, quick-release gun lock. “It really blocked all the ways we wanted to get people,” said Zore’s Eytan Morgenstern “We’re selling to gun owners and they have to understand why it works.” Companies are getting “swept up in the general prohibition on advertising firearms,” said Chuck Rossi, a former engineering director at Facebook. “All of them are eligible for ads, but it’s a constant battle to get their ads through.”
A spokeswoman said Google’s policy “exempts and allows gun parts that increase the safety of a gun, such as gun locks” and encourages advertisers to appeal if they believe they are wrongly blocked. Facebook and Google have banned ads for guns for years and tightened their policies after recent massacres. Bob Chunn of Sentinl Inc., which makes fingerprint-activated trigger locks, said when Facebook or YouTube reject an ad, employees tell him “it’s probably because of the firearms.” They advise him to remove the image of a gun or the word “gun.” Four in 10 gun owners say there is a gun that is both loaded and easily accessible at home, according to the Pew Research Center. In 2015, 4.6 million U.S. children lived in homes where guns were left unlocked and loaded, more than double the estimate from 2002, said a survey by Harvard University researchers. Startups are emerging with safety devices that include high-tech locks, safes and sensors intended to keep guns safe from children and strangers while allowing an owner to deactivate them within seconds.