The Canada-based e-commerce business Shopify has prohibited certain firearms from being sold through its website.

Company CEO Tobi Lutke explained the move with a blog post, which said his prior stance of Shopify being an open platform to sell anything had changed. He did not identify what caused the change or any specific thing. Anti-gun activists have pressured companies to make changes and some companies are relenting.

From Lutke’s post:

Solely deferring to the law, in this age of political gridlock, is too idealistic and functionally unworkable on the fast moving internet.

The legislative process is no match for the realities of the internet and has ground to a halt on contentious issues. Some of those issues, such as hateful content, remain legally undefined. Others are legally addressed for a physical world, but pose different and more complicated risks on the internet. So we have found ourselves in a position of having to make our own decisions on some of these issues. And along the way we had to accept that neutrality is not a possibility.

We addressed this vacuum by creating a carefully crafted Acceptable Use Policy which allows space for all types of products, even the ones that we disagree with, but not for the kind of products intended to harm.

FoxBusiness.com reported that activists in 2017 pushed Shopify to sever ties with news website Breitbart last year. However, he said then that Shopify didn’t “like Breitbart” but supports free speech.

What is Prohibited?

Shopify spelled out the changes in its Acceptable Use Program guidelines:

“Restricted Items” means:

Certain Firearms

  • an automatic firearm that has not been rendered inoperable
  • a semi-automatic firearm that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine, with one or more of the following items:
    • magazine capable of accepting more than 10 rounds
    • bump stock
    • rapid fire trigger activator or trigger crank
    • barrel shroud
    • thumbhole stock
    • threaded barrel capable of accepting a flash suppressor, sound suppressor or silencer
    • grenade or rocket launcher
    • flash suppressor, sound suppressor or silencer
    • pistol grip (or in the case of a pistol, a second pistol grip)
    • forward pistol grip
  • a semi-automatic firearm that has a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds
  • firearms without serial numbers
  • ghost guns and 3D printed guns, including blueprints for such guns
  • any part, component or kit for any firearm or gun listed above

Certain Firearm Parts

  • 80% or unfinished lower receivers
  • magazine capable of accepting more than 10 rounds
  • bump stock
  • grenade or rocket launcher
  • pistol grip (or in the case of a pistol, a second pistol grip)
  • forward pistol grip
  • barrel shroud*
  • thumbhole stock*
  • threaded barrel capable of accepting a flash suppressor, sound suppressor or silencer*
  • flash suppressor, sound suppressor or silencer*
  • rapid fire trigger activator or trigger crank
  • any part, component or kit for a firearm part or including a firearm part listed above

*only if for use with a semi-automatic firearm

The NSSF Responds

NSSF® is aware and monitoring the recent policy changes by Shopify. This policy update is misinformed and doesn’t contribute to increasing public safety. Instead, it limits customer choice and alienates law-abiding gun owners. Today’s gun owners can trust NSSF-member retailers, who offer online services, to provide them with the respect, dignity and service they have come to expect. When gun owners support these NSSF-member retailers, they contribute to a variety of industry-driven and effective public safety solutions.

Those initiatives include NSSF’s FixNICS®, the Own It? Respect It. Secure It.® initiative, which is built on the firearm industry’s long-standing commitment to safety and was developed to promote and encourage firearm safety and secure storage. It also serves to enhance and amplify the messages of ongoing firearm safety and education campaigns such as Project ChildSafe®.

Other NSSF initiatives in cooperation with federal law enforcement include the Don’t Lie for the Other Guy® anti-straw purchasing retailer education and public awareness program and Operation Secure Store that provides firearms retailers with information to help them better secure their facilities from theft.

The firearms industry welcomes participation in the conversation across the nation to make our communities and our schools safer. We will continue to lead and participate in finding and enhancing practical solutions that protect lives and preserve our citizens’ liberties.

What Retailers Can Do

As a retailer, whether brick-and-mortar or online (or both), you can emphasize your beliefs to consumers with clear, plain language displays in your store or on your website.

With all the hubbub about “online is killing retail stores!” actions by companies such as Shopify or Dick’s Sporting Goods or other anti-gun companies only help local retailers stand taller. Let your customers know what you believe, what you can help them with and provide the best service possible.

Whether you’re into the AR and tactical market or that’s not in your bag, you can still show customers that you’re supportive of the Second Amendment and help them with their shopping.