Salesforce Latest to Institute Corporate Gun Control

Business software company attempts to strong-arm customers to ban sales of AR-15s, ammo magazines

Marc Benioff, chairman and co-CEO of Salesforce / Getty Images
June 2, 2019

Multibillion-dollar business software provider Salesforce announced on Thursday that it would no longer do business with anyone who legally sells certain firearms or ammunition magazines.

The corporation, worth around $120 billion, updated its Acceptable Use and External Facing Services Policy to ban anyone using their software from selling nearly all modern semiautomatic rifles and many other semiautomatic firearms. The policy outlines the kind of legal firearms and firearms accessories that cannot be sold using the company's software. Those include any semiautomatic firearm that can accept a detachable magazine and any of the following features: "thumbhole stock, folding or telescoping stock, grenade launcher or flare launcher, flash or sound suppressor, forward pistol grip, pistol grip (in the case of a rifle) or second pistol grip (in the case of a pistol), barrel shroud."

That criteria would preclude any retailer who works with Salesforce from selling AR-15s, the country's most popular rifle, and nearly all modern rifles readily available in most states. The policy, however, goes further than banning just AR-15s and similar rifles. It also bans the sale of ammunition magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds—magazines of that capacity or greater come standard with most handguns and rifles for sale in the United States.

The policy further bans the sale of flash suppressors—which also come standard on most modern rifles—threaded barrels capable of accepting flash or sound suppressors, thumbhole stocks, blueprints for so-called ghost guns, and a number of other firearm accessories or parts.

The move makes Salesforce, whose chairman and co-CEO Marc Benioff is a gun-control activist who donated a million dollars to March for Our Lives last year and called for a ban on AR-15s, the latest mega corporation to attempt to institute its own form of gun control on its customers. Citibank announced last year it would require its customers not to sell firearms to anyone under 21-years-old—a policy that has prompted discrimination lawsuits against retailers who have implemented it like Dick's Sporting Goods and Walmart—nor sell so-called high capacity magazines. Bank of America similarly announced its customers would no longer be allowed to sell "military-style firearms" but didn't define what the vague term meant.

Gun-rights groups decried Salesforce's decision to try and ban their customers from engaging in legal commerce in firearms the corporation doesn't like.

"This is outrageous," Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, said in a statement. "Here are companies selling perfectly legal products according to the requirements of federal law, and just because those products happen to be a certain class of firearms and accessories, the companies are essentially facing being black-balled. Our friends at the National Shooting Sports Foundation, an industry umbrella group, rightly call this 'corporate policy virtue signaling.'"

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the gun industry's trade group, said Salesforce's decision could have a serious impact on the industry.

"It is a very chilling effect when a company as large as Salesforce puts out a policy like this," Mark Oliva told the Washington Post. "A policy like this is not surprising from a company based in that part of the country."

Gottlieb took things a step further and suggested looking at federal legislation to counter the actions of Salesforce and other large corporations.

"Some people may think this is a great idea, but if it is allowed now because the targeted product is a particular type of firearm, what's to prevent this or another company from deciding sometime in the future to essentially blacklist another product it doesn't like?" he said. "Suddenly, we're not talking about an affront to the Second Amendment and millions of law-abiding firearms owners, we're talking about possible restraint of trade. When social justice warriors become corporate bullies, maybe it's time for Congress to step in and provide some adult supervision."

"We're disturbed by this report, and we hope the software company takes a deep breath and rethinks this idea," Gottlieb said. "Denying an essential service to a company because it sells some products that may be offensive to some people should be setting off alarms throughout corporate America. Your business may not be affected today, but there are a lot of tomorrows over the horizon, and this sort of thing can become insidious really fast."

Published under: Guns