Here's What Happens When You Post a Gun on Social Media and You're Not Jeb

Here's What Happens When You Post a Gun on Social Media and You're Not Jeb

Earlier today, after a campaign stop at the FN America manufacturing plant in Columbia, South Carolina, Jeb Bush tweeted a photograph (caption: “America.”) of a .45-caliber handgun engraved with his name. As it happens, FN America is a subsidiary of the Belgian company FN Herstal, which, the Washington Post points out, was requisitioned by the Nazis in its previous incarnation as Fabrique Nationale d’Armes de Guerre.

Anyway! In September, Bush told the Telegraph that he did not own a gun. This raises some questions: Does he own this gun now? Is it registered? In a sense, yes—it has his name on it. Does he have a license? Does he have one in Florida? Or South Carolina? Law enforcement officials might wonder all of these things, and more, if Jeb Bush was almost anyone other than himself.

The NYPD has been monitoring social media for posts indicative of gun violence since at least 2013. “We have identified the bad guys and we are going after them,” Deputy Inspector Joseph Gulotta, commander of the 73rd Precinct, in Brownsville, said. “Social media has changed everything.” That year, in a single bust, police seized 250 guns and arrested 19 people connected to an interstate gun ring. Some of the sellers had posted pictures of their guns to Instagram.


On the same day in December 2013, police responded to photographs of guns two Connecticut boys posted to Instagram—the first turned out to be a pellet gun (although the boy was still charged with disorderly conduct), and the other was taken from the Internet. A year later, a 17 year old in Texas was arrested for posting a photograph of an Airsoft replica gun pointed at a police car with the caption, “Should I do it?”