In a sweeping decision, YouTube has released their latest dictatorial policy on firearms content, and the outlook is not good for the firearms community. These new loosely stated rules and guidelines give YouTube the power to not only remove firearms content from their platform at will, but also give them the ability to conduct outright bans, and censor prominent voices in the pro second amendment community without any chance of an appeal. Here’s what it looks like.
It is no secret or surprise that YouTube, a property of Alphabet Inc., has long been an anti-gun entity on the internet. In the past, the platform has had many problems where firearms videos and creators alike were wantonly removed without rhyme or reason. Inquiries into these removals almost always resulted in the platform being forced to allow the creators back onto YouTube as the content was not directly in violation of any rules or guidelines set into motion by the company. As of yesterday, March 19, 2018, all of that has changed because they have released their official stance on firearms with new rules and guidelines for firearms related content.
YouTube no longer allows videos that: Intend to sell firearms or certain firearms accessories through direct sales (e.g., private sales by individuals) or links to sites that sell these items. These accessories include but may not be limited to accessories that enable a firearm to simulate automatic fire or convert a firearm to automatic fire (e.g., bump stocks, gatling triggers, drop-in auto sears, conversion kits), and high capacity magazines (i.e., magazines or belts carrying more than 30 rounds). Provides instructions on manufacturing a firearm, ammunition, high capacity magazine, homemade silencers/suppressors, or certain firearms accessories such as those listed above. This also includes instructions on how to convert a firearm to automatic or simulated automatic firing capabilities or shows users how to install the above-mentioned accessories or modifications. You can read the official release from YouTube at this link.
At first, these rules and guidelines may seem reasonable to the average person who views them. When you dig a little deeper into the firearms YouTube community however, you see an entirely different picture. No longer are firearms content creators allowed to post videos where they are sponsored by members of the gun industry. Also, there is no retroactive protection for channels that have violated these rules before they existed. That means, any video that was ever sponsored by any ammunition company, or webpage that sells firearms or firearm accessories is now an offense the creator can be banned for. This means many creators like Hickok45, who have audibly mentioned their sponsors in every video, will have to remove substantial portions of their video library, just because they have directly mentioned these sponsors. Mention of those sponsors could be considered a violation of the guidelines, and result in a channel strike, even if the video was created in 2011. Three strikes and the creator loses access to the channel they have been working to create.
Many creators in the firearms space also have several other videos that could result in retroactive bans from videos that were created long before these guidelines were in place. For example, popular YouTubers such as Demolition Ranch and IraqVeteran8888 feature a few videos where they are operating legally owned and purchased automatic weapons, weapons that are suppressed, or show users how to bump fire. These videos could result in channel strikes against the creators, which would then result in their ban from the platform with little to no warning for the creator. These rules were definitely made with malicious intent against the firearms community of YouTube, as the first guideline alone is grounds enough for the removal of a majority of the well made firearms content on the platform.
The video you are about to watch is in violation of the new YouTube guidelines for firearms related content. We highly suggest that you seek out your favorite content creators in the firearms space on every available social media platform, that way you can continue to follow them if they are silenced by YouTube.