Facebook reportedly shut down the page of a Pennsylvania firearms store that was giving away semi-automatic weapons in support of the Second Amendment.
Erik Lowry, owner of Pittsburgh Tactical Firearms in McKeesport, Pa., claims his store's Facebook page was shut down following an AR-15 giveaway launched earlier this year, according to ABC's WTAE Pittsburgh. On Friday, he received a message from Facebook informing him the page was deactivated, but he received no further explanation.
Back in February, Pittsburgh Tactical Firearms made headlines when the store gave away hundreds of rounds of ammunition, dozens of high-capacity magazine clips and an AR-15 assault weapon. Prospective contestants had to "like" the Facebook page and share with friends to be entered in the contest.
Lowry explained to radio station NewsRadio 1020 KDKA that an AR-15 could come in handy for customers to "defend themselves from a tyrannical government," a right provided by the Second Amendment.
It began as a Christmas contest, but many later construed it to be a protest of President Barack Obama's push for gun control following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on Dec. 14, Lowry previously told The Huffington Post.
The owner, who claims his business is losing thousands of dollars each day because of the alleged blockade, thinks misinformation regarding the giveaway is to blame for Facebook shutting down his page.
“People were thinking if you won, I was just going to send a gun to your front door. It just doesn't work that way,” he told WTAE, saying that winners had to to pass background checks. “If you win a firearm from us, you come to the store, and as long as you pass a background check, you walk out with your gun.”
News platform Vocativ recently contacted the social network about gun giveaways within the Facebook community. A spokesman for the social network said that, since such pages can be considered ads, they are in violation of the site's terms. Vocativ provided Facebook with the names of multiple stores participating in such contests, and the pages were subsequently removed.
"Our Ad Guidelines prohibit promotion of the sale of weapons and the Ad Guidelines apply to Pages with commercial content on them,” a Facebook rep said. “Ads may not promote the sale or use of weapons, ammunition, or explosives.”
Still, Lowry is angry about what happened.
"This kind of censorship is unconstitutional," he told The Blaze regarding Facebook shutting down his page. He plans to reach out to the National Rifle Association (NRA) for legal council.
Facebook could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.