The internet is a vast place, and social media posts number in the millions every day. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok: Who could possibly keep track?
Who would notice a single post with (possibly) illegal weapons in them? The federal government, that’s who.
People are constantly being arrested over their social media sharing
A quick peek at Google, and you’ll find essentially the same story over and over again: Someone flashes a firearm in a social media post or video and ends up facing federal charges.
Since state lines don’t constrain federal authorities, it really doesn’t matter where you are when you post. Take, for example, the Detroit rapper and convicted felon who flashed an illegal weapon in an Instagram Live video. He’s now sitting in jail waiting on a trial that could put him in federal prison for 10 years.
Still not totally convinced? Then consider the 22-year-old Massachusetts man — someone not nearly as well-known or recognizable as the rapper — who was arrested after he posted pictures of a pistol he stole on social media. Police now have the weapon, the drugs they found in his car and his social media posts as evidence, and he’s facing a long list of related charges.
What’s the point of this information? Well, there are two things you need to keep in mind:
- Anything you post online that tends to show you’ve done something illegal can be used as evidence against you.
- The internet isn’t nearly as big as you think, and the authorities will see your posts.
It’s common in “gun culture” to show off your prize weapons and ammunition to others, but you might want to dial things back a bit if there’s any chance that the weapons you have are illegal (or illegal for you to have).
If you do make a mistake, recognize that you can’t handle this situation on your own. Weapons charges are serious, and you need to be proactive about your rights.