eBay Says I Can't Sell M4 Handguards!


October 17, 2006, 12:36 AM
Thank you for your recent auction-style listing. You listed the following:

190041945959 - M4 Handguards for AR15 Carbine Dual Heat Shields

Unfortunately, eBay removed your auction-style listing. All fees related to this listing have been credited to your account. We also notified members who placed bids on the item that the listing has
been canceled.

The listing was removed because it violated the eBay Firearms, Weapons, and Knives policy. The sale of this item may also be prohibited by law.

The government heavily regulates the sale of weapons, and these items may cause harm to the eBay Community. For these reasons, eBay restricts the sale of weapons to a very few types. Sellers can list weapons on eBay under very specific conditions only.

eBay doesn't permit the sale of any parts or accessories for firearms defined as assault weapons by federal or California law.

I fired this back at them, I wonder if it gets my account "disappeared"....

Where do you come up with this garbage?

A quick search of eBay...

I find numerous railed forends for AR15 family weapons (which are not "assault rifles" unless you're the communistic gov't of california). If you're using the head in the sand approach I could argue that a metal railed forend is much more deadly than the standard plastic piece as you can attach numerous evil things like vertical foregrips and flashlights to it! The military upgrades the weapons of special forces soldiers to have railed forends so they must be deadlier!

I find many stocks for AR15 family weapons.

Many grips for AR15 family weapons.

An assault rifle by definition requires it to have the capability of firing in fully automatic mode. This is also legal with the proper pre-1986 weapon and the $200 tax stamp and applicable background checks and forms.

Your anti-gun nonsense has already cost you thousands of users and it's about to cost a few more unless the mindlessness stops! Change your policies or may I suggest hiring screeners who know their...nevermind...

I still haven't figured out which rule I was "violating" that these dozens of other listings aren't. Nobody has ever been killed with handguards and you certainly don't need them to make a rifle functional.

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October 17, 2006, 01:06 AM
I can happily say I've never used ebay and in all probablity never will.

October 17, 2006, 01:07 AM
Well gee, since CA defines AW by features, maybe eBay should sack all the hundreds of shotgun and rifles parts & accessories currently on their website. After all, add an 12rd mag to that SMLE, and it's an AW. Standards are one thing; PC hypocrisy is something else. Yet another reason to shop smarter elsewhere.

October 17, 2006, 01:12 AM
Apparently the Mini-14 is an assault rifle too.

My Ciener conversion kit auctions were cancelled twice before I was able to get rid of it.

But of course, do we remember these?



October 17, 2006, 01:23 AM
They said "Assault Weapon", not Assault Rifle.. two completely different terms.

Mac-10, Uzi, AK-47, AR-15 = Assault Weapons
AK-47, FAL, M-16, G36E = Assault Rifle.

eBay doesn't permit the sale of any parts or accessories for firearms defined as assault weapons by federal or California law.

Awhile back, M4 Handguards would go on a weapon that would be qualified an AW under CA law... BUT that is not necessarily the case anymore.. http://www.bushmaster.com/shopping/Carbon15/azc-c15rm4ft.asp
It is entirely possible that M4 handguards could be used for a gun that isnt classified an AW under CA law.

Ebay is lame though.. I doubt they'll want to hear any explanation.

October 17, 2006, 01:38 AM
A quick eBay search shows that your listing was probably called to their attention because it has the term "M4" in the title. The only listings that seem to be OK with that term in the title are airsoft guns or gun cases.

Look at this realistically. Do you think eBay has some flunky personally view every single listing out of the (literally) millions that get posted every month? Of course not. There are 'hot button' terms that flag your listing to be looked at by a human being, who most likely has no knowledge of guns, no experience with guns, and no interest in guns. It's pretty obvious that "M4" is on that hot button list.

You can get as angry as you want about it, but it won't change anything. eBay is private property, and as gun owners, part of what we support is the principle that property rights are paramount in our society. Their property, and they set the rules. Rules you agreed to abide by before you posted your ad - even if those rules seem stupid and arbitrary to you and I.

This is not terribly complicated. Learn to work within their rules, or take your business elsewhere. Ranting and raving about the "communist government of California" does nothing to further your argument, and just makes you sound like a fruitcake.

October 17, 2006, 01:43 AM
I remember when guns were allowed to be sold via E-bay. They have changed their views so much over the years that they are quickly becoming extinct as a source for most of my hobbies. I've pretty much quit selling on there due to their higher fees, and the last year or so, there hasn't been much I want to buy listed on there due to their ever increasing strict policies.

October 17, 2006, 01:53 AM
I too remember my uncle buying guns off eBay before I had internet access.

I don't agree with their nonsense but sadly there isn't a real alternative and I have bought alot of good stuff there for good prices that I can't find elsewhere. :(

October 17, 2006, 08:49 AM
Try gunbroker.com. No restrictions and no insertion fees.

Ebay is based in CA and uses CA law as a model. 'Nuff said.

October 17, 2006, 10:35 AM
If you noticed, all notices of cancellations occure in the middle of the night. The alerts go to India and the decision is made by the Mgt. there.

I had 7 cancellations before I got suspended.

October 17, 2006, 10:52 AM
And if e-Bay don't getcha' with their restrictions, Pay Pal will.

October 17, 2006, 11:48 AM
Actually, the "Forbidden Items" team is in Draper, Ut, I know because I used to sit next to them. They work from about 6 am to about midnight, MST.

I worked in the team they call "Section 9", which refers to Section 9 of the Ebay user agreement, which basically states that they may cancel any listing for nothing more than making them feel uncomfortable. I mostly removed highly suspicious listings, that had too many indications of fraud to be ignored.

The Forbidden Items team mostly responds to user complaints. When they run out of those, they look in the cases that the automated filter picks out for them. The examine these cases one at a time, and when in doubt, they ask their supervisor if an item is ok. Now, understand, this section is the least glamorous of the Trust and Safety department of ebay. Most of their day is spent deciding if an item is really child pornography or not. This means, no one wants to stay there for long. As soon as they can transfer to another section, they will. There are supervisors at ebay who are very gun savvy, and would know the difference between a gun and a non-gun. But they don't work in Forbidden Items, because no one wants to stay there. They use Section 9 of the user agreement as a shield against complaints about cancelled listings, saying, "You agreed when you started a seller account, we can cancel anything anytime for any reason. We didn't like it, we refunded your listing fee, better luck next time."

Ebay has wrestled with the idea of selling guns, they considered setting up a seperate section, like ebay motors, with a TOS agreement that is like a fortress to shield them from liability, but what their counsel and marketing guys keep coming back with is; "All we need is for another Columbine to happen, and then have it reported that the kid got the gun off of ebay with his dad's credit card." A friend of mine personally asked Meg Whitman if there was no way around it, and she said they had decided that the profitability doesn't outweigh the liability issues.

More than one ebay employee has protested the policy, and ultimately, they don't care. I personally know a couple who have left as a result of this policy. And while ebay might have their reasons, they also own paypal, and their anti-gun policies are indefensible. I won't say I never use ebay, but I'm certainly not a regular.

October 17, 2006, 11:57 AM
If you look you can always find shotgun receivers listed as unknown part, barreled receivers listed as barrel for whatever. They seem to let their "power-sellers" do what they want with nary a word said.

October 17, 2006, 11:59 AM
I can happily say I've never used ebay and in all probablity never will.

You're not missing out.

While you are in the right 648E, you can't fight THE MAN. I fought Ebay and it was a long and drawn out process.

Fortunately, sites such as Gunbroker exist.

October 17, 2006, 12:08 PM
The truth is, they are overwhelmed, they don't have time to look at everything. They give priority to complaints from users. If one item or one seller gets lots of complaints, that's where they look first.

Each powerseller has a personal representative that tries to make sure they know, understand, and follow the rules. If they get in trouble, they go to bat for them, to try to get them another chance. They only get their fees refunded for the first violation. If they ignore warnings, they lose fees, (which can be a pile for a powerseller,) and the business they would have had for the duration of the suspension. For repeated offenses, they will be permanently suspended, and I can tell you that they are VERY effective in tracking previously suspended users from starting up again under a different name.

October 17, 2006, 01:21 PM
It looks to me that you did violate eBay rules. You should have marketed them as being for a California legal weapon ONLY, making no mention to a non CA legal weapon. In doing such, you violated ebay policy, and they have a right to cancel your listing. Ebay is a business, and the site is their property. They have a right to limit what get's sold, regardless of how unconsionable their policy may seem to us. Remember, how much we fight for private property rights- well, that's all ebay is acting on. You should consider selling in a more friendly venue, like gunbroker, auctionarms, bluebroker, or even the THR trader boards.

October 17, 2006, 01:38 PM
I don't like the gun auction sites, they're just not refined enough I suppose. Maybe in time...

I did receive a response today though from my rant:

Thank you for writing eBay in regard to your listing that was recently
removed and similar items on the site.

I have reviewed your listing and can confirm it was removed correctly in
accordance with our policies.

I understand that your "M4 Handguards for AR15 Carbine Dual Heat
Shields" are not actually a firearm. However, I'm afraid that your item
was removed correctly under our Firearms policy.

Your handguards were removed because it was described as an accessory
for an assault weapon, in this case an AR-15. eBay has recently revised
its Firearms Policy so that the sale of any assault weapon-related parts
or accessories will no longer be permitted. This will apply to all parts
and accessories related to any firearm defined as an "assault weapon" by
either Federal or California law. This means that eBay will remove any
item, even including things like stocks, grips, slings, or
sights/scopes, that is described as being compatible with an assault
weapon model.

The primary reason that eBay has changed its policy is that various
state and federal laws are particularly complex when it comes to
regulating, and even defining, assault weapons parts and accessories.
What is legal in one jurisdiction may be illegal in another, and as the
category grew, it became increasingly difficult for us to enforce a
consistent policy. To keep our community from inadvertently violating a
firearms law, and to simplify our enforcement into a policy that would
be fair and consistent to all sellers, we took the step of banning all
parts and accessories related to assault weapons. This decision was made
purely to help protect our community from inadvertently violating
firearms laws, and for enforcement reasons. eBay takes no position on
the gun control issue. eBay will continue to allow the sale of hunting
rifle parts and accessories because the laws surrounding the sale of
these items are much simpler and thus easier to enforce.

I appreciate the fact that you may disagree with eBay’s decision to
establish this policy. If you would like to see these policies change,
or have suggestions on how to make this policy better, I encourage you
to submit your feelings by completing the form at the following URL:


Although you may not see the policy change immediately as a result of
your email, the appropriate personnel will be made aware of your
position on this issue.

With regard to your concern about other listings you may see on the site
that are similar to yours, I understand your position. Let me assure
you that you are not being targeted or discriminated against, and that
we value having you as a member.

The Community Watch Team understands there are auctions currently
running on the site that are in violation of our listing policies or
guidelines. Please understand that with over 1 million active listings
at any given time, it is not always feasible for us to be aware of all
violating listings within the time frame of some auctions. I know this
may not seem fair because these listings are live on the site, however,
during our search for listing policy violations, or when members like
yourself report these listings and bring them to our attention, we fully
investigate each report. Listings that are found to be in violation of
our policies are dealt with appropriately, and repeated offences are
dealt with appropriately.

To submit a report to us, please do so through the following link:


It's important that you do not treat the action taken on your listings
personally, but rather as an informational alert to make you aware of
our policies. While it may not be immediate or obvious, other sellers
who are engaging in listing practices which violate our policies will
eventually have similar action taken.

I apologize for any inconvenience this has caused. If you need further
assistance, please don't hesitate to reply to this email and let us


eBay Customer Support

.38 Special
October 17, 2006, 01:44 PM
On a more general note, I'm starting to get a little annoyed with "hotheaded" responses to anti-gun people/policies. I participate at various online political bulletin boards and have had some success, over the years, converting fence-sitters and mildly anti-gun people to "our side" with logic and manners. Perhaps the single biggest hindrance to those efforts are my pro-gun "allies" who either A) Go on the offensive: "You gun grabbers are nothing but a bunch of hysterical sheeple!" or B) Break out the "sitting in the dark cleaning my gun collection and waiting for Armegedon" stereotype: "There's a conspiracy to take away our guns and make us slaves to the state. Just look at Kommiefornia!"

I understand the need to vent as well as anyone, but bear in mind that when you do it in public you are making enemies. Do you think the person who reads the Ebay email is more likely to sit back and say "Whoa. I never thought of it that way!" or "Hey guys, get a load of this goofy gun nut!"?

Vitamin G
October 17, 2006, 02:18 PM
Ha ha ha, in the end, you're the winner anyways...
I mean really, her name at Ebay customer support is "Charmie"?

October 17, 2006, 03:45 PM
Maybe you should re-list the item and say you are not sure if these handguard would fit an AR-15 or not.

Or possibly mention it as an airsoft part.

October 17, 2006, 05:17 PM
Maybe you should re-list the item and say you are not sure if these handguard would fit an AR-15 or not.

That's how I got suspended. Relisting a item that they cancelled.

October 17, 2006, 05:26 PM
I dont agree with ebays policies and I dont shop with their users. A hand guard is not a weapon its a component. Just go to gun broker or guns america and sell it.

October 17, 2006, 06:07 PM
And no, Charmie is not her real name. The confrontational nature of the job gives them reason to protect the identities of their representatives. They generate pseudonyms for them.

October 17, 2006, 07:35 PM
It amazes me when people cry about getting their auctions booted off Ebay because THEY violated the rules. I've been selling on Ebay as a hobby since 1999. It's how you list and the words you choose. READ THE RULES!!

Any reference to any assault rifle will cause your auction to be closed. Instead, use brand names in your description such as Bushmaster, Colt, Armalite, Olympic Arms and such.

I don't like their rules either. But it is their site and they have to follow idiotic California rules because they operate there.

October 17, 2006, 07:45 PM
eBay Says I Can't Sell M4 Handguards!

There's a surprise.

My bids go to Auctionarms.

October 18, 2006, 12:54 AM
Don't support anti-gun businesses guys. Selling, or trying to sell, gun stuff on eghey just throws money at our adversaries. Why do that?

Gunbroker + Auctionarms

October 18, 2006, 01:56 AM
best way to attack eBay is to get it kicked out of your state.

October 18, 2006, 12:22 PM
So, if I was selling 1992 Chevy Pickup truck and included this line, "Rifle rack in back window will easily accomodate an AR-15 rifle!", then my ad would get cancelled? Jeez, for the love of Mike! I'm glad I quit fleabaying 6 years ago.

October 18, 2006, 10:48 PM
Old news where have you been they stopped all AW parts sales at least 2 years ago.

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