The enterprise software giant Salesforce just announced it is banning its customers from selling semi-automatic rifles online. Shopify made a similar announcement last year. They join payment platforms like PayPal and Venmo, and social media companies like Facebook and Youtube, which prohibit firearm transactions entirely. They aren't the only enterprise software companies with anti-firearm policies.
GunTab has started tracking anti-firearm policies in the enterprise software space. You can check out our list of enterprise software firearm restrictions. The summary is that every kind of software is on the list. You'll find all these types, and more:
- Checkout services like 2Checkout and Bolt
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) like Salesforce
- Email services like Growmail
- Media platforms like Flowplayer and Ooyala
- Identity verification services like Plaid
- Logistics platforms like Shipwire
- Web hosting like Bluehost
- Website builders like Shopify and Wix
These anti-firearm technology companies seem to be following an emergent trend. The trend is toward parallel economies that are divided along political lines. Rather than remaining open to all honest customers, many companies are increasingly self-selecting into one partisan economy or the other.
It is hard to say what is motivating most of these tech companies with anti-firearm policies. In the cases of Salesforce and Shopify, their stated intent was essentially political – their founders want bans on "assault weapons" and "high capacity magazines," and decided to achieve them in the limited context of their own business operations. But other cases aren't so clear. There may be just a line in a policy document. In those cases it seems like there can be a few motivations:
- Principle. Some people honestly believe firearms do more harm than good. Some even believe they're downright evil.
- Convenience. Firearm transactions are uniquely regulated, and therefore uniquely complicated from a legal perspective. Prohibiting firearms might simply be a way to avoid legal hassles.
- Revenue. Firearm prohibitions appeal to certain market demographics. For companies without much business involving firearms, a firearm prohibition could represent free marketing and increased sales.
- Some combination of the above. This is probably the most likely explanation behind a software company prohibiting firearms. For example, a company might be concerned with the legal hassles of firearms, but its marketing department might describe its new anti-firearm policy as a matter of principle.
You'll be interested to see our list of enterprise software companies with anti-firearm policies. It's definitely not exhaustive – if you think another company should be added to the list, please add a comment below or tell us on Twitter!