Amazon is pretty reasonable (knives are fine, firearms accessories are fine, but firearms and ammunition are out due to compliance issues). Google has no excuse.
As a target shooter, I don't find this any more reasonable than a gay person might find "personal ads are fine, but not gay personal ads".
All too often our definition of "reasonable" is "gores HIS ox but not mine".
I'm not familiar with the legal issues. However, it is perfectly reasonable for Amazon to comply with the law. Perhaps the laws are stupid, but that's not Amazon's fight.
There are very few extra legal limitations for selling ammunition over the internet. These legal limitations could be shifted to third-party retailers, with Amazon as a middleman only.
There are literally no extra legal limitations or regulations for a company selling (non-firearm) firearm parts, which Amazon does not allow.
Selling ammunition requires roughly the same amount of legal red tape as selling knives or tasers (which Amazon already does).
Apparently their policy (http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=2...) allows a lot of things, but not other things, in a not entirely consistent way. Primers and brass are ok, but not bullets. Stocks are fine, but not barrels. wtf.
There are some parts where Amazon would have liability. Magazines, for instance, especially since Amazon likes to be able to warehouse items wherever it finds most convenient. 30 round magazines would be really complex given that some states ban them.
As for Magazines introducing liability, Amazon stocks thousands of items like Knives, Tasers, Pepper spray, etc. that are illegal in some states but legal in others (just like magazines).
For Amazon to enter online sales of weapons, they have to address a mess of state and local compliance issues which are not their core competency. No matter what your opinion is on firearms and ammunition, Amazon's reticence as a business to get involved with that seems very reasonable to me.
Not impossible, to be sure. But it sounds like a lot of work and potential customer problems.
Federal law already requires that anyone selling guns by mail-order do exactly that. A gun can only be shipped to a licensed dealer, who must then perform a background check on the buyer before handing it over. It's common enough that almost all gun stores have a set fee for providing this service.
It could also just be an economic decision, but given that Amazon prohibits certain firearms parts which aren't regulated anywhere (except maybe APO mailing to military, or internationally) like trigger assemblies, it seems more likely a corporate image thing.
For example, transport over state lines may require coordination with the shipper. For Amazon, having attorneys stay up to date on the law in multiple jurisdictions doesn't fit with their operating model.
Knives are less difficult regulatory-wise, and where there are local legal issues, they usually aren't serious felonies.
Unless the customer was coming to pick up the weapon themselves (at our location) we would only ship guns to FFL's. The FFL was also the one who did the background check as far as I'm aware. I don't know what percentage of our sales were local pickups but I am guessing we did the background for those (we had an FFL).
They shut down but the company made it up to 70 or so employees. I don't know how we kept up on the laws. Our suppliers might have done that as we were sort of a middleman from the suppliers to the customers.
I do remember that we needed to track a lot of things for the ATF and they had to be very accurate. The ATF would come in once a year or so and audit the logs and other things related to shipping. I never saw them but I remember the boss(es) being stressed during those weeks.
Once you add in state laws (e.g. Californians can't buy rifles in Nevada in person, although Nevadans and most other state residents can), and the penalties for non-compliance, and I don't think it's reasonable to require Amazon deal with firearms.
Through Marketplace it might be a little bit more vague. But a pure advertising site should be comfortable running firearms ads. If the owner is personally opposed to firearms, no one is forcing him to carry those ads, but I'm a (very small) part owner of Google, so for a public company, it's probably not a great position to take.
They already calculate local taxes (city and county taxes too!) for the states in which they choose to tax.
For another example, the pawnshop on Pawn Stars doesn't deal with modern firearms. Because they don't have a license. Because they decided it wasn't worth the hassle/effort/expense.
Dealing with firearms can be hard/expensive compared to selling other things (like knives and accessories). Dealing with gay personal ads is no more hard or expensive than regular personal ads.
That said, the issue here is not how lethal one is over the other, but Google playing judge,jury and executioner for something they should have no right to jurisdict over.
4.8 murders per 100,000 in the US vs 1.2 per 100,000 in the UK.
The figures _do_ take size into account.
United States: 4.8
United Kingdom: 1.2
vacri's statement seems completely accurate.
Murders in the US are currently sitting at 14k, ~11k of which are from firearms. The US only has 5 times more people than the UK, which would turn your stat into a rough US-equivalent of 1.7k.
Good news is that their soldiers will have guns, and you can get a good advantage on them by staying in close quarters environments with your knifes.
How come your measure of offense is more important than mine?
Also, if you want to play community standards, I'm pretty sure the majority of the people who live around Google HQ (Bay Area + SF) would agree with me.
It's a fair argument that porn is pure free speech and thus should be less regulated than guns, or that it's morally superior (although I'd say sex is morally superior to violence; porn is in some most cases morally inferior to sex)
Craigslist is pretty aggressively anti-weapon. Do you boycott them?