NSSF is the trade association for America's firearms industry.
Our mission: To promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports.
NSSF is the trade association for America's firearms industry.
It's mission: To promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports.
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Google’s Anti-gun Policy

Google, a company that should know better than to censor the flow of online information, has chosen to ban search results related to firearms and other products it deems not “family safe” in its Google Shopping function. Until recently, gun-related products appeared just like other products in search results, giving shoppers a powerful price-comparison tool. But not anymore.

Google’s new, anti-gun policy, announced May 31, assigns a family status to all products. Products in the “non-family safe” or adult categories are blocked from Google Shopping and include guns, ammunition and knives, vehicles, tobacco and traffic devices such as radar scramblers.

As one blogger said, “Shame on Google,” for blocking information related to firearms—a constitutionally-protected product and, we might add, a product that millions of Americans rely on to protect their families.

NSSF is attempting to reach Google to urge the company to reconsider this discriminatory policy that is hostile to the Second Amendment. We also plan to remind the company and emphasize that firearms cannot be purchased online and be transferred directly to the purchaser. A firearm that is purchased online must be physically sent from one federal firearms licensee to another, with the latter conducting the mandatory FBI background check on the purchaser (represented in person) and then transferring the firearm only after the purchaser has passed background check.

The company’s new, anti-gun policy has rightly caused firearms owners to reconsider having Google be their search engine of choice. According to reports, the search engine Bing.com, for example, currently does not block firearms from appearing in shopping results.

Though Google Shopping works to aid commerce by making it easy to research products and pricing, Google’s new policy raises barriers to one of the country’s strongest economic trends—the robust sales of firearms and ammunition, one of the true bright spots in the U.S. economy. Firearms and ammunition sales are at all-time highs, accounting for a 30.6 percent increase in jobs from 2008 through 2011 and an overall economic impact of nearly $32 billion to the nation.

Google’s restrictive policy comes at a time when retailers and other online information resources have increased their content about firearms because of consumer demand. Fortunately, consumers have other online services to turn to instead of Google for their firearms information.

We all know the censorship challenges Google has faced in China and other countries hostile toward freedom of speech, just as we know of the company’s admirable efforts to overcome those challenges. The question arises: How can a company that supports the First Amendment with such zeal be so hostile to the Second Amendment?

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83 Responses to “Google’s Anti-gun Policy”

  1. acrossthebow

    The people that own Google are part and parcel of the group of morons that funded Barack Obama’s presidential. In a word, they are committed socialists/Marxists, and could care less about freedom loving Americans. My suggestion is used another search engine like Bing. I won’t ever visit Google search again. There are too many alternatives to put up with such foolishness.

  2. Benjamin Frederick Clardy V

    Bing…has been shown to copy+paste results from Google. :/ So even if I agreed with you about boycotting Google, that’d be stupid.

  3. Howard

     Actually, that “study” by Google was contrived. It was carefully designed to produce the desired result, and it did. The “study” did *not* (despite claims by Google) show that Bing does anything resembling copy+paste.

  4. jmjay

    I do not understand this article. I agree that there are too many options out there to stick with Google just because it is Google. However, after reading the article, I conducted a web search and a shopping search for a specific handgun and specific ammo and was provided search results. Perhaps Google has reconsidered its position since May 31.

  5. LLD

    Apparently they don’t have all the “blocking” figured out yet. Some paths allow you through — others stop searches. In the main Google search I put in Browning 9mm. Lot’s of results came back. Then when I clicked the “Shopping” link to the left to get comparitive prices for shopping, here’s what came up

    Your search – browning 9mm – did not match any shopping results.Suggestions:Make sure all words are spelled correctly.Try different keywords.Try more general keywords.Try fewer keywords.

  6. Mastiff54

    Just googled 1911 frames in a google shopping search and had numerous hits.  Maybe they reconsidered.

  7. Robyn

    Just tried it today. Google Search worked fine with lots of hits. Google Shopping had no “found” results, but did turn up a couple of correct “sponsored” links. Bing didn’t have the restrictions.  It looks like if you are paying to be in sponsored links, your company may still come up. But why would you pay to do that if you know that people aren’t going to use Google to do a shopping search for your types of products? You’d get more “bang” for your marketing bucks elsewhere.

  8. Lasttobelucky


  9. George Franke

     I just typed in Smith and Wesson 9mm in the search box on Google Shopping…19,500 hits came up.

    I was about to write a column on their new policy, but I’ll stay away from it until I get all the facts straight.

  10. Mastiff54

    Really?  I just did the same search and got “Your search – Smith and Wesson 9mm – did not match any shopping results.”

  11. Tim

     You can still search on Google – I did just like you said and got over 1.5 million hits. BUT – if you click on the shopping link – it’s on the left side of my search page – there is where the results are blocked. All this does is eliminate the ability to get that nice little neat list of prices to compare. You can still use the basic search function and get all the links but you have to go to each one to get information.

  12. Scott

    Regular search results are not blocked. Only shopping search results for most type of weapons. But Google allows shopping search results for porn, sex toys, and drug paraphernalia. Makes sense.

  13. Carrie

    The response of the 22,000+ fans of The Well Armed Woman show their willingness to take their “business” elsewhere. Women firearms owners buy an awful lot of gear and ammunition online, and with tensions already high because of the political environment – they will demonstrate their loyalty to the 2nd Amendment with their wallets and their keyboards. I hope your efforts, and those of others, break through these unreasonable barriers for those of us in the industry. 

  14. Woman Hunter

    I prefer Google over Bing. Even though Google introduced this policy, I can still search for guns and ammunition on their shopping section.  Google is business and if they feel they want to restrict specific searches, they have the right to do so.  I think smart Americans can figure out the best websites to get their firearm information from.  If you don’t, just go the the manufacture’s websites or use youtube.

    What they should do is offer more information about gun safety and where to take classes?  If you want to own a gun, you should know how to operate it.

  15. Scott

    YouTube is owned by Google. I wonder how long until they remove any gun related videos?

  16. Gclackil

     Upon reading Google’s new policy, I promptly removed Google as my primary search engine. I may delete it entirely from my computers. Much to my surprise I found that Bing and some lesser known search engines are in many respects better than Google for my purposes. 

  17. LLD

    It’s not just the search engine we’re considering dumping. It’s Google Docs, Google+, Android phones — anything and everything Google related. BING, iPhone, iPad, Firefox, SKYDrive … there are tons of options. Imagine is 40 or 50 mil sportsmen take a stand!

  18. Gary

    So I think all they have done is remove it from the shopping results. Still this is horse hockey but ammunition still shows up in their web search.

  19. Fieldhouseplghtg

    What about Bows & arrows  Knifes saws 

  20. Nate

    Sign this petition against the new policy!! http://www.petitiononline.com/Pt21z5X/petition.html

  21. derp

    but they don’t censor pornography? family oriented? bullshit those are just nice words to cover for mor sinister motives.

  22. tomatocity

    Thanks for the information. I just switched back to IE.

  23. Billy Oblivion

    It’s not about the browser, it’s about the search engine. 

  24. Maxx Traxx

    Same group thinking that has Facebook,ebay and look at the NRA supporting liberals…Many Bank are the same way, pay pal does too…all I am saying is cancel them all and maybe that will do it.

  25. Scott

    So I guess that their choice to allow listings for porn, sex toys and drug paraphernalia is family oriented?

  26. Nope.

    Those are now restricted too, but the laws that pertain to those items are different.

  27. Doc

    Dear Wow,
    It is clear from your multiple posts that you are intentionally misrepresenting Google’s talking points as fact. There is no law that prohibits advertising for firearm accessories on a paid or unpaid shopping site. Nor is there any relevant case law to stoke any paranoia about lawsuit exposure. Go to Amazon and you’ll see gun sights, lights, magazines and holsters. Google is one of the largest donors to Obozo and the Democratic party and in lock step with their philosophy.

  28. Capenders

    I just Googled MEC reloaders, Smith & Wesson Kolar Arms and numerous other in the gun and gun related business and had no problem finding links to these businesses. Has this policy not gone into effect yet?

  29. Steven L. Davis

    Because they are not smart enough to know with out the second amendment there would not be a first amendment.

  30. The Gun Guy®

    This is sheer madness!  First, eBay/PayPal and, now, Google.  Craigslist also restricts ads involving firearms.  I understand there is no “illegality” here, but, there certainly -should- be!  What’s next for Google?  Ban search engine results displaying -any- site judged to be firearms-related?  Maybe if the “80 million gun owners” would avoid using Google, they would “get the message.”

  31. countryboy

    Well I haven’t had any problem looking up guns of all kinds on Google.  Looks like some right wingers acting left wingers.  

  32. Davenjudyfusi

    WTF is this all about?  I just typed “Guns for Sale” in the Google search and got 1000’s of hits?

  33. George_franke

    I just went to Google Shopping, typed in Remington 700bdl for kicks and a host of guns came up for sale with prices…did you twist their arms that fast???

  34. Carrie

    They aren’t banning the searches, they are not allowing the advertising programs. Searches will still bring up organic results, it is the “sponsored” links and the “shopping” advertising programs that do not allow firearm related businesses. Companies who deal within the firearms industry cannot advertise using the google pay per click and shopping function. Now, I have “battled” them numerous times and managed to get exceptions to some of my keywords, but it is a challenge and considering the new energized effort within the shopping function, I have no doubt that the “passes” they have been giving to Pay Per Click, sponsored ads will be removed shortly.

  35. Gandl2123

    I will check this out and if it is true.  I’m done with Google and will try Yahoo or Bing or something…when I search for Glock 26 and Magazines or mag ext….and google tells me that they won’t do that search for me, their customer….?  That would be the straw that broke this camel’s back.  

  36. Gandl2123

    Not true…another internet legend.  

  37. Exactly!

    There is no anti-gun policy. They are in the middle of making some changes to their Shopping page and some of those changes legally restrict them from promoting firearm sales. This will likely change as time goes by and they get all the kinks worked out of their new system.

  38. Billy Oblivion


    They are not “legally restricted” from anything they do. Google doesn’t sell a damn thing, all they do is take an advertisers money to list their products in response to certain queries. 

    Advertising firearms is illegal NOWHERE in the US, and is not illegal in MOST countries. 

    They claim here: support.google.com/adwordspolicy/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=176077

    that this is “to comply with legal regulations.” Since there are no regulations (at least in the US) in this area, they are not telling the truth.

    Do no evil, indeed. 

  39. David Christian

    Do you have a firearms business and a Google Shopping feed?  Well I do and they just banned over 1,000 of the 1,400 items in my feed.  Is this just my imagination playing tricks on me?  You don’t have a clue what you are talking about.  You can even find the email SENT BY GOOGLE describing this change.  Is it still just an “internet legend”?  

  40. NO-Bama

    If they funded/backed Obama, that’s enough for me!  Bye-Bye Google!

  41. Mastiff54

    Tried a few more searches and they are definately blocking searches. More than sponsored searches. Not an internet legend. Searched for 1911 and AR on both Google and Bing shopping results were: “Your search – ar rifle – did not match any shopping results.” “Your search – 1911 pistol – did not match any shopping results” “Your search – 1911 – did not match any shopping results” “Your search – AR – did not match any shopping results”
    Bing returned pages of shopping results for the same searches.

  42. Billy Oblivion

    Works for me in Australia: 
    American Classic AC45G Amer Classic 1911 45 ACP 5″ MatteBersa 8 + 1 Round 45 ACP Single Action American Classic w/Matte Black Finish The first 2 pistols in Bersa’s American Classic line will be Classic $859
    from 23 stores
    Sig Sauer 1911R-45-SSS 1911 R Pistol .45 ACP 5in 8rd Stainless Night SLike all SIG SAUER products the 1911 contains only premium internal parts including a match grade barrel hammer/sear set and trigger. The slide …$844from 33 stores

  43. Phornibrook

    Shame on google. Boycot?

  44. marcthepig

    This is not something I have ever needed to find via Google. Plenty of other resources out there. However, as Google has declared gunowners unwelcome, Google is no longer a service I will use. Nor will I purchase any device that promotes Google as a feature. 

  45. WOW!

    Wow you people are all ridiculous, is it really this easy to spoon feed you nonsensical bullshit? haha. They are in the process of converting google shopping into a pay service and there are laws that prohibit the promotion of firearms (and other items, it should be noted) for such a service. Searching for firearms is not prohibited or censored AT ALL. Bing and Yahoo follow the same guidelines based on the same laws, the only difference is they have not linked their shopping pages with their main search pages. This is something that is likely to change in the future, as Google is constantly updating their services. Google has no “anti-gun” policy, so I urge you to point me in the direction of such a document.

  46. Tyler Jordan

     There are no laws like that.
    What they are restricted by is adwords policy and their own brand new advertising policy, per the letter sent out to registered merchants who deal in firearms, ammunition and accessories.

  47. gregg56

     read the text of the Email received by a company that sells ammunition.  It did not mention any legal reasons for not allowing the category, just that Google determined that this is not “family friendly”. 

  48. Mr. Smith

    Wow, if there were laws forbidding promotion of a fully legal product, wouldn’t that infringe on our first amendment right to free speech? 
    When the Supreme Court just ruled that a non-veteran claiming to be a war-hero infringed on that person’s right to free speech (in spite of the fact that it may all be lies), I would think that any law infringing on a business promoting a fully legal product would similarly be illegal as well as a gross infringement of our rights. 

  49. Darkheart

    It is not a law, it is something that Google ( in staying inline with the “elite”, has decided to do on their own. Google is loosing users left and right because of this and several other reasons, including, selling your information. Or rather, just turning it over to the Government

  50. Lawdog2705

    You are sooooo right Darkheart!  Google is the most UNSAFE search engine on the web.  I have already quit using them because of the facts you stated above.  Of all the search engines studied, it was found Yahoo was the safest.  It wasn’t my favorite but, I’ll take safety 1st!!!

  51. RockwellArms

    Bing does allow you to list firearms in their “Shopping” engine.  That’s what we’re talking about here. 

  52. David Christian

    Since you are the expert you can point us to the text of one of these so called “laws” right?  Have you ever seen gunbroker.com or a magazine such as “Guns and Ammo”?  They all advertise and promote firearms.  How is it illegal then in only the case of Google?  You really have no clue what you are talking about do you?

  53. Outlawchopshop

    You can still see all the shopping results for the porn industry (try it, search blow up doll in the shopping catagory of Google)

  54. Tannerconsulting

    Dear Google,
    I can’t believe what I am reading. Have you actually done any research? In a comparison of sports injuries, target shooting doesn’t register. There are more injuries in swimming sports than shooting sports. There are more people killed in golfing accidents then in shooting sports. The only recorded shooting deaths from a target range were the results of suicide Maybe you need to research this data on your own site!

  55. Momofshooters

    I searched over a dozen gun related items just now on google shopping and did not see any restrictions. Everything I looked up from machine guns to a bazooka came up.

  56. Gunlvr

    As a gunsmith I was using Google to find inhformation on older firearms, now I understand why I am having trouble finding the information I need to repair a firearm in thew shop I work in.

  57. Mr. Smith

    I’ll bet that we can still find/buy products through Google Shopping that support family owned pools.  Yet statistically pools are FOUR HUNDRED times as dangerous as firearms in the home.  Sadly, if Google was truly interested in saving lives and promoting products that are “family safe” instead of simply regurgitating the same politically correct dogma they’d ban all pools and pool related products instead of guns. 
    The statistical info on family pools being 400 times more dangerous than firearms in the home came from the book, “Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything.” 

  58. SAR166667

    If the NRA and every firearms/outdoor magazine and ammunition supplier declared that their readers/customers should boycott Google because of their new policy, then Google would start to see their business decline significantly.  Remember – 80+ million gunowners.

    I’ll help by not using them again until they PUBLICLY change their policy.  And so will my family (4 other computer users) and my extended family (15 other people).  That’s 20 peopl;e already who’ve changed by tomorrow.

  59. Colossusrex66

    Use the search engine DuckDuckGo instead – YOU determine the settings, and they don’t track you. Google searches always result in ads based on your previous searches.

  60. D U B

    I’ve used YAHOO! for years.  No complaints. 

  61. Lnshuckab

    I will never use Google again>>>

  62. Hankbob2000

    I don’t understand the article.  i just Google-searched “firearms” and many choices, both commercial and informational came up right away.  I then typed in “AK-47” and Atlantic Firearms’ site was the third site listed, behind the Wikipedia article and the link to the images page.  Google seems to be working just fine as far as gun searches.  What is the issue that I’m missing here???

  63. Texastrouble

    Bullshit….went to google typed guns and bam….guns…with is this bs!

  64. Pricewj

    I just tried using Google to search for pistol ammunition and it showed plenty of hits.  Guess this report is bogus

  65. Harlee02

    I just did a search on google for 1911 45 ACP . Came back with many options to purchase sell etc?

  66. Jason

    If Google choses to prohibit any Firearm or ammunition searches then I shll remove Google Chrome from my computer and urge all my friends and family to do the same thing.

  67. Mgbbbrg

    If this is true, Google isn’t very good at it.  I just did some test searches on guns and gun sellers and it worked just fine.

  68. Rod Hoover

    The new policy ONLY affects the merchant sales advertising in the ‘Google Shopping’ section, but not your normal search functions. It will have an impact those merchants who pay Google to drum up new business by listing them on specific ‘products for sale’ searches, but I doubt it will amount to much. I have never used the ‘Google Shopping’ feature as it is a useless function for anyone who knows how to surf the internet and find what they’re looking for. The only people I know who use the ‘Google Shopping’ feature are those who can barely figure out how to work their email programs, like my 83 year old mother. Few experienced web surfers would ever have a need (or desire) to use it, so when Google’s legal department altered their merchant agreement re: gun and ammo sales advertising, it didn’t affect most of us at all. To illustrate this, go to Google and search for “.45 acp ammo” and you’ll get almost 2 million hits – then click on the shopping feature and the search yeilds “did not match any shopping results. Not a big deal for me!

  69. RockwellArms

    A lot of people are reading “Google” and thinking this article is talking about the main search engine results.  It’s not.  It’s talking about “Google Shopping,” which is a comparison shopping engine that you get to by clicking on “Shopping.”  That service is no longer free, and they have disallowed the sale of all firearms through “Shopping.”  They still return results in their organic results, although those results are poor.  For anybody wanting to vote with their feet, just go to Bing.com, type in the name or brand of the firearm you want, and then click on “Shopping at the top.

  70. Mac

    What a shame.  I find it comical that on “safe search” mode I come across “not-family safe” content constantly.  So I will continue to be visually assaulted by seeing people doing drugs, pornography and the like…but will no longer see firearms?  Hmmmm….I understand that it is only in their shopping results but i will probably be only matter of time before it spreads. 

  71. Inmate3006

    You can do a search for beastiality, people raping children and videos of same. But a bullet is not safe? Intresting.

  72. Larry

    Use BING it is better anyway.

  73. 22to50

    I just did a search for a wilson combat and it gave me results.  Next, I searched the stereotypical term for a weapon…GLOCK, and *POOF* NO RESULTS!!! 

    What a joke!  I have always favored Yahoo. 

  74. 22to50

    And another thing….

    I searched Winchester, Remington and Browning.

    All showed no results.  Are you fricken kidding me?  3 manufacturers of not only firearms, but knives, clothing, and other accessories that are no longer included in search results.  Way to Google!!!  Way to boost the economy in the U.S.A.!

  75. Ted Jones

    good bye google

  76. DMG059

    How can Google claim firearms are no ” family safe”.  My family has been shooting togeather forever.  i AM DONE WITH GOOGLE.

  77. spencer60

    I have to admit, I’m spilt about this…

    One one hand, Google is moving to an eBay/Amazon model for it’s Shopping pages (which are different from the regular search pages).

    Google Shopping will be it’s own service, and it’s Googles’ right as a business owner to limit what they sell on it, just like eBay and Amazon do.

    On the other hand, it saddens me that a company like Google is taking such a blatently anti-Second Amendment stand. I really want to like Google, but they are making it harder than ever for me to do so.

    I would love to see a boycott site setup, or some kind of online petition (doing it in Google+ would be ideal). There doesn’t seem to be a general comment email address or forum for feedback, so to my mind this is the only way we’ll get noticed.

    I guess I’ll need to look at alternatives to Google products though. While I have no illusions that me swapping to IE9 and Bing from Chrome and Google Search will make a difference, but I’ll feel better knowing that I’m not supporting them in any way.

    I’ll also be looking at the Windows Mobile phones when they come out, to replace my current Andriod unit. As long as they have Angry Birds on it I’m all set.

  78. Laurettaricker490

    I was able to use my google search bar and look up guns and ammo. So Im confused about this.

  79. Jack_flash75234

    I am a strong second amendment rights supporter, but, I check everything out.  on 7/13/2012 I checked GOOGLE and found glock and fn firearms through their search engine.

  80. Avondaly

    Just went to Google plenty of info on pistol. Dry-Fire are you sure this info. is correct, E-Bay restricts it but….

  81. Nccowboy49

    Shame on you google

  82. Michaelswierbut

    It’s always been about money. As soon as google finds out its loosing market share, watch what happens. They’ll find a reason to change their stance on this issue. Shame on you google. Get ready for a lesson in business and marketing.

  83. bob b.

    obama has an ego, that will bring him down