Software enters the gun debate

Today in Security: Business software company will bar retailers selling semiautomatic weapons

​Salesforce, a large business software ​​company based in San Francisco, recently altered its company policy, effectively barring retail customers from using their software to conduct online sales of various firearms, including automatic and customizable semiautomatic weapons, 3D printed guns, firearms that use .50 BMG ammunition, and more.

According to ​The Washington Post, one of Salesforce's leading customers is Camping World, a gun-selling retailer, and this shift in policy places Camping World​ and other clients in a tricky position. "Camping World, for example, spends more than $1 million a year on Salesforce's e-commerce software, according to one analyst estimate," ​The Post said. "Switching to another provider now could cost the company double that to migrate data, reconfigure systems and retrain employees." Salesforce offers solutions for customer relationship management, which allows marketing, sales, commerce, and service a cohesive view of a company's customers all on one integrated platform.

The U.S. Department of Justice issued a new rule (that became effective earlier in 2019) that banned bump stocks, devices that make semiautomatic weapons. More information about the rule can be found in ​Security Management's March 2019 Legal Report.

In response to recent shootings, other retailers adjusted their sales position on firearms, such as Dick's Sporting Goods, which announced in 2018 that it would cease selling guns and ammunition in a number of its stores. In its February 2019 earnings report, the company acknowledged its hunt business "experienced an accelerated decline." If customers' response to Dick's decision is an indicator, Camping World and similar Salesforce clients are likely facing a difficult decision.