UPDATE, August 9: Citing The Trace's reporting, Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey sent a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, urging him to “implement stronger measures to keep gun accessory sales off your platform.”
UPDATE, August 5, 5:30 p.m.: Google Shopping has removed the listings for two 100-round drum magazines. (See an archived copy of the listings here.) Many other magazine models are still being promoted on the site.
Google Shopping, the tech giant’s price-comparison platform, has a policy prohibiting sellers from listing guns and gun accessories. But a review of products on the site shows an array of gun magazines, including a 100-round drum magazine nearly identical to the one used by the mass shooter in Dayton, Ohio, on August 4.
The item promoted on Google Shopping is a double-drum magazine that holds .223-caliber rifle ammunition, made by Iver Johnson Arms and listed by the sports retailer Vital Arms. The Dayton shooter used a similar model manufactured by KCI. The device enables a shooter to fire up to 100 rounds without reloading. In Dayton, the gunman fired 41 shots in 30 seconds, leaving nine people dead and 27 more injured.
Google’s help center for online merchants forbids the promotion of all guns, including Airsoft and BB guns, as well any item that “enhances the functionality of a gun.” The only items permitted under the policy are those that “increase the safety of a gun,” like gun locks.
In response to a request for comment, a Google spokesperson told The Trace: “Our hearts go out to the victims of this terrible tragedy. We have strict policies that govern the kinds of ads we allow on our platform, and ads for guns or gun parts are a violation of those policies. When we find ads that violate our policies, we remove them.”
The listing was first spotted by Twitter user Pinboard.
In February 2018, Pinboard also found bump stocks listed on Google Shopping. The company removed the listings shortly after they were made public, citing “human error.” Dozens of other gun magazines are also currently listed on the site.
Magazines with a capacity of more than 30 rounds were illegal in Ohio until 2015, when Republican lawmakers amended the state’s definition of “automatic firearm” to allow the devices to be sold again. In recent years, high-capacity magazines have seen an uptick in popularity; they have also been employed by mass shooters in Sutherland Springs, Texas; Parkland, Florida; and Christchurch, New Zealand.