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Yes, Firearms Brands Can Now Send SMS Campaigns Compliantly
SMS Marketing 101

Yes, Firearms Brands Can Now Send SMS Campaigns Compliantly

Firearms brands can use SMS and email marketing to communicate with customers, as long as they follow proper regulations. S.H.A.F.T. brands must use proper age gating, avoid triggering language or promotion of violence, and use a proper SMS tech stack to avoid big penalties.

October 20, 2023

Firearms industry marketers: it’s (finally) time to fire up your SMS campaigns. As long as you’re following federal industry regulations, it’s now legal to send text message communications to your customers and shoppers. Let’s dig into how you can navigate digital marketing channels compliantly. 

By strictly following regulations such as the CAN-SPAM Act, TCPA, and FFL regulations, firearms businesses selling weapons, ammo, and accessories can maintain a trustworthy reputation while engaging customers responsibly. The key is using appropriate language, promoting responsible ownership, and implementing age gates in SMS campaigns to contribute to a compliant and successful marketing strategy. 

In this post, you’ll get an overview of federal requirements for SMS campaigns in the firearms industry, discuss the language you can and cannot use, and highlight the importance of age gates in text messages.

Federal Requirements for SMS Campaigns

Ultimately, you have the responsibility to abide by strict compliance regulations or face severe consequences. Key regulations for conducting SMS campaigns in the firearms space include:


The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) governs the use of SMS campaigns and requires prior written consent from recipients. It’s vital to obtain consent before sending any text messages, as failure to do so may result in severe penalties ranging from $500 to $1,500 per unsolicited message.

Federal Firearms License (FFL) Regulations

Businesses operating in the firearms industry must comply with the regulations enforced by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). These regulations pertain to the sale, distribution, and advertising of firearms, including email and SMS campaigns. Violations can result in penalties, license revocation, and potential criminal charges.


Email and SMS go hand-in-hand, so don't forget to follow email guidelines, too. The CAN-SPAM Act sets rules for commercial email and requires that all commercial emails must include a legitimate physical address, provide an option to opt-out, and avoid misleading subject lines and headers. Non-compliance can result in penalties of up to $43,792 per email violation.

No Triggers: Language Use in Firearms Industry Campaigns

Given the sensitivity and potential controversy associated with the firearms industry, use appropriate language in SMS messages so your campaign doesn’t misfire. Here are some guidelines to consider:

1. Avoid Exaggeration: Do not use hyperbolic or exaggerated language that may mislead the recipients. Stick to factual and informative content without embellishments.

2. Be Clear and Unambiguous: Ensure that the language used in your messages is clear and unambiguous. Be straightforward about the purpose of your communication and avoid any language that could be perceived as misleading or deceptive.

3. Promote Responsible Ownership: In your campaigns, you can focus on promoting responsible firearm ownership, safety measures, and the importance of following local laws and regulations. Emphasize responsible behavior and discourage any content that may encourage misuse or irresponsible handling of firearms. 

An example of compliant SMS messaging:

“A-Blazin’: Our big Safety First Sale is happening right now! Get 40% off ALL accessories when you use code BLAZE40. To unsubscribe, reply STOP.”

The Role of Age Gates in SMS Campaigns 

Just like other S.H.A.F.T. brands, age verification is a critical component when it comes to firearms SMS campaigns. Implementing age gates ensures that only individuals who meet the legal age requirements can access your content and offerings. Here are some best practices for implementing age gates in text messages:

Clearly State Age Restriction

Start by clearly indicating the minimum age required to engage with your SMS campaigns. You can include this information in the opt-in process or within the initial SMS message.

For example, LiveRecover’s S.H.A.F.T-compliant abandoned cart recovery uses live agents to text shoppers with the following message: 

“Hey David, this is Emily from A-Blazin’—yes, I'm a real person :) I saw you were checking out our products. Can you confirm your birthdate (mm/dd/yyyy) so I can get you a discount to checkout? To stop receiving texts from us, just reply STOP at any time.”

Use Double Opt-In

Implement a double opt-in process to obtain age verification from recipients. This can be achieved by adding an extra step that requires them to respond or provide their age information.

Conduct Regular Audits

Periodically audit your SMS subscriber list to ensure compliance with age restrictions. Remove any subscribers who may not meet the specified age requirement.

Choose Your SMS Tech Stack Wisely

The most important compliance decision you’ll make is choosing an SMS platform to handle age and geo gates, let alone one that’s S.H.A.F.T.-friendly. Voyage SMS’s comprehensive platform for text message marketing is not only suited to handle your customer communications with compliance at the forefront, but our supportive team is ready to assist with any help needed to stay compliant. 

Unlike most all SMS platforms, Voyage doesn’'t work with Twilio for our S.H.A.F.T. brands, as they only register 1-800 toll-free numbers and don’t support 10DLC registration. 

10DLC (i.e. 10-digit long code) is a new type of phone number for business-to-consumer SMS communications in the U.S. It’s compliant with messaging regulations from companies like Infobip, making it possible for Voyage to offer an efficient and sound onboarding process without all of the red tape.  

We’d love to help you do your part in ensuring responsible gun ownership in the U.S., including arming customers with the knowledge (and products) to keep them happy and safe. 

To see Voyage SMS's power in action, request a demo here.

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