NSSF: YouTube’s New Policy Provides Cause for Concern

Editor’s note: Below you’ll find a cogent and gently worded “call to action” in response to Youtube’s new policy on firearm-related content. It was penned by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association. While I agree 1,000 percent with everything the NSSF is saying, I’d go one step further. Actually, probably, 10 steps further. Censorship is death to democracy! The power brokers that essential control the interwebs — InstaFace, GoogleTube, TweetHub — are censoring pro-gun voices and content producers. This is not new news. It’s been going on for quite some time. Through de-monetization, throttling access to subscribers and followers, and even shutting down pages of established contributors, these platforms have silently declared war on the 2A. Sure, they’ll say it’s in the name of “saving lives” and “protecting the children.” But we know better. It’s ultimately about disarming the masses. Gun content that informs, inspires and entertains audiences is problematic because it creates more free-thinking, self-reliant individuals. It creates more good guys with guns, more enemies of Big Brother.  When the music stops and there is a day of reckoning, the last thing those oligarchs sitting in their ivory towers want to confront is a well-informed and well-armed citizenry.  Anyways…

NSSF YouTube’s New Policy Provides Cause for Concern

You may see media coverage of the adoption by YouTube of a new firearms content policy that has the potential to affect our industry and your business.

YouTube’s announcement this week of a new firearms content policy is troubling. We suspect it will be interpreted to block much more content than the stated goal of firearms and certain accessory sales. Especially worrisome is the potential for blocking educational content that serves an instructional and skill-building purpose. YouTube’s policy announcement has also served to invite political activists to flood their review staff with complaints about any video to which they may proffer manufactured outrage.

Much like Facebook, YouTube now acts as a virtual public square. The exercise of what amounts to censorship, then, can legitimately be viewed as the stifling of commercial free speech, which has constitutional protection. Such actions also impinge on the Second Amendment.

Facebook Precedent

In what we see as a parallel situation, Facebook has repeatedly shut down the pages of legitimate and reputable firearms retailers that were following Facebook’s own rules. The interpretation depended on the reviewers, the vast majority of whom have little familiarity with our business practices, let alone our products, and many of whom do not even do their work from American soil.

Both First and Second Amendment rights are essential to the liberty we enjoy as American citizens. In a very real sense, the de facto curtailment of First Amendment right of its firearm related business users, YouTube is edging toward simultaneously infringing upon the Second Amendment rights of the customers of these affected businesses.

Commerce in Firearms is Essential

As Circuit Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain wrote in his 36-page opinion, “Our forefathers recognized that the prohibition of commerce in firearms worked to undermine the right to keep and bear arms.”

This argument can be logically extended to social media platforms. It is time that social media platform management realizes its broader collective responsibility since it commands so much of today’s virtual public square. Suppressing the expression of First Amendment protected political speech and of commercial speech is wrong, even if they think they are acting in the public interest. The resulting impingement of lawful commerce in firearms that brings with it the infringement of Second Amendment rights is equally wrong and it should stop.

Tell YouTube that this new policy is a cause for concern. Ask that its implementation and review process be fair, fully informed and respectful of your business. Please be polite and remember that the person on the other end will likely know little about firearms. Provide comments directly to YouTube.

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YouTube’s New Policies on Content Featuring Firearms

YouTube prohibits certain kinds of content featuring firearms. Specifically, we don’t allow content that:

  • Intends 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.
  • Shows users how to install the above-mentioned accessories or modifications.

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 34 comments… add one }
  • loupgarous June 24, 2018, 7:49 pm

    Running a check on YouTube just now, I found four videos advertising or demonstrating the manufacture of silencers at home, using the search terms “youtube silencer”.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyY-2uWZ6SM
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7t_pcWPdSDs
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haiqFcIXTqs
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s–2-mMCy_I

    One of those four was the infamous “solvent trap” which uses a threaded barrel and a Mag-Lite flashlight tube, with a specially threaded end cap supposedly to make sure your firearm barrel’s even cleaner than boring old copper brushes and cleaning rods can make it. The part of the video about making silencer wipes was apparently just “educational” in nature.

    “youtube solvent trap” turned up not one, but nine such videos:

    If YouTube cared about actual violation of firearms laws now on the books, they’d have done something about those videos. They didn’t.

    My intent isn’t to nark-out the videos in question, but to draw attention to what YouTube SAYS and what they DO.

    They don’t mention demonetizing a much wider range of videos for a much wider range of reasons.

    I hope the recent Federal court ruling forbidding censorship on social media (because social media are, even when privately owned, “public spaces” where First Amendment rights must be honored).

  • Charles Nesser April 18, 2018, 7:04 pm

    For the people who think part way. Question.In 1939 if the Polish people had the right to keep and bare arms. If Hitler were alive, he might still be trying to take over the country. No country on earth could overrun MY country. Bomb us and we’d be taking out their whatever they send. Last hunting season Wisconsin had enough hunters to become the forth largest army on earth. Not one injury. 130 million snipers just are not going to be taken out. ISSIS threatens. Yes! I’m a Nam vet, and about a million or so if my brothers would all have same two questions. When does ISSIS season open, and is there a daily bag limit? Those wimps would be dead within 24 hours of coming illegally into MY country. It is my country. My family traces back to having served in every war to at least the civil war, except for Korea, and the Spanish-America War. If demon-crats what to eliminate sections of the Constitution. They are in the wrong country, so GET OUT, NOW!! A 100,000 Nam vets, could end illegal immigration in a matter of weeks. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both stated the second amendment was for the people to have a safeguard check against our government when it does as it’s been doing. I pac. And I pac everywhere. There is no gun free zone, it’s to protect those to ignorant to protect themselves. It’s called civil disobedience. They want to ban guns. I want one sided media banned. I want liberal Demoncrats— I just coined a new term for them.— exiled. Drunk drivers kill people is the car blamed? Thousands die in the bathroom. Is there a call to dan toilets? There will be a revolution if illegal laws are passed restricting ownership. When guns were banned in homes in Washington DC. Within two months, the murder rate rose over a thousand percent. There has never been a mass shooting at a gun show. Or at retail outlet selling guns. They want my guns. Come with a big appetite, coz they might eat a bunch of lead. That isn’t a thread. It’s stating my opinion on the legal act of civil disobedience. Vigilante Law is getting real close to going nationwide. Anyone sees a United Nations vehicular with armed troops, that is components of an invading Army, trying to overthrow the real United States. And are to be taken out. No prisoners. I stated that to US Senator Jerry Moran. He had no opposition to that so that’s all the green light we need, Fellas. Damn the demoncrats-full speed ahead. Lock and load, no bag limit.
    Citizen Mike

  • Sepp W March 25, 2018, 4:45 pm

    Facebook suspended my account indefinitely for expressing conservative views and challenging liberal’s.
    Anyone notice the liberal media outlets, like MSN, disabled the ability to reply to articles?
    It’s all an orchestrated effort by the liberal media and now publically and privately held entities to suppress free speech and obstruct anything that is firearms or 2nd Amendment related.
    Hypocrisy is the name of game. Suppress firearms related information, but condone leftist and terrorist protest & violence, anti-Semitism, racism, and the daily deluge of misinformation, half-truths, and made-up facts.

  • Bobs your uncle March 25, 2018, 2:46 pm

    I think a huge amount of this bullshit comes from a privileged class that has never had to serve in the military, work at an unpleasant, unrewarding job,or really do anything they didn’t want to. A class of spoiled brat fucktards that think they know what is best for everyone else. I personally have no interest in owning or using a lot of the guns I’ve seen on you-tube, but a lot of mechanically minded people would find the stuff interesting to watch, but our social and intellectual betters know what is best for their weak minded viewership and once again we must be told how to think. you-tube, sing along with the Team America theme song.

  • pistolman March 25, 2018, 12:36 am

    Boycott boycott, boycott! First National Bank of Omaha is no longer offering NRA Visa credit cards. I terminated my card yesterday and in no uncertain words told them why!

  • Robert Boomershine March 24, 2018, 11:24 am

    I see this as a perfect time for an entrepreneur to start a new website devoted to exactly the things YouTube is banning. I don’t have the knowledge or wherewithal, or I’d do it myself.

    • loupgarous June 24, 2018, 8:06 pm

      I thought about doing that myself. But it’s expensive.

      YouTube’s not just a web site. It’s not just a company that hosts Internet videos on servers. It’s a company that owns millions of dollars’ worth of hardware, not just big hard drives, not just computers with big hard drives on them (“servers”), but enough of them – and the hardware to connect them all to the Internet – to host over 10 exabytes (100 million terabytes) of data across many data centers.

      Now, the things YouTube is banning for political reasons are a much smaller volume of data. But we’re still talking about many millions of dollars to start the company up.

  • e March 23, 2018, 11:08 pm

    It would be nice to see a pro gun social/tube style web sight. However the insurance and lawyers needed would be astronomical. It would need some serious industry backing and would need policed, even by them. I know that’s not what most want to hear right now. But I’d guess that’s why it hasn’t already been done. Maybe it’s time to get together the resources and try it.

  • Dr. Strangelove March 23, 2018, 2:14 pm

    Sorry, as much as I disapprove of YT’s actions, they are a private company and have every right to control content. The first amendment states, “Congress shall make no law…” The Bill of Rights protects us against the government, not commercial entities.

    That said, I’m hoping that my favorite channels find another venue. There is Full30, but not everyone is with it.

    • Casual disagree March 24, 2018, 2:58 am

      I get that they are a private company, however they have worked pretty hard to push everyone else out of the business. This essentially makes them a monopoly on this type of platform and as such they may not get the choice of what they do. If a baker can’t refuse to sell a cake based on the fact that the cake would violate their religious beliefs, then YouTube SHOULD have a tough time refusing the allow firearm review channels… of course despite being part of the first ten amendments we all know that the second has less value to so many people on the left side of the fence. I’m sure no judge will rule against them, since they are all in bed with the liberals.

  • DavidInCO March 23, 2018, 12:15 pm

    The thing is, YouTube does not stop at the boundaries of their policies. They have been shutting down all kinds of gun related content that is not even close to the stuff in their policies. And they have been suppressing the conservative voice in various news related forums by demonetizing certain select videos and pushing more liberal content as being “favored”. The conservative view of EVERYTHING is under attack. Make no mistake.

  • Steve Gibbons March 23, 2018, 11:10 am

    You really missed the boat on this one Guns America. Why in the hell did you not inform your readers to go after YouTube?
    I’m talking about flooding them with public pro-gun comments on their “Feedback” link. I just copy & pasted the NSSF statement and added a few choice words myself. I was polite, but to the point stating flatly that I will not purchase any products or services advertised on their platform and will seek other platforms to replace theirs. That’s something they NEVER what to read from the public. Multiply that by a few million pro 2A comments and they would back off for fear of losing ad revenue. Make sure that you publish this immediately and often until we stop this outrage. – SRG

    • Don Schincke March 23, 2018, 1:17 pm

      Steve is absolutely right. I have no idea who Steve Gibbons is but he’s 100% right. Not only should we blitz you tube, who I am an active fan of, but send emails and letters to the actual advertisers on you tube. Simply stating that if the advertisers continue support or advertise on you tube, giving their stand on gun control, their products and services will be boycotted by you and everyone you can tell. A full on boycott could be considered extreme but also taking the point of view of a group of 18 year olds that haven’t even experienced life or know what it’s about. Their loss is great but I know of an equal amount of kids in my own high class that died of drunk driving and drugs.
      In my own CCW classes I teach when it comes to the young guys that are in it. With an unloaded gun on the table next to an antique sword, an old spear, and a rock. These all have been used to kill people over the centuries…. yet I’ve yet to see one jump up and act on their own to do so.

      Don S – CCW instructor in Nebraska

  • Clint Wilde March 23, 2018, 10:26 am

    Looks like a great opportunity for somebody to start ‘GunTube’, dedicated to everything you want to know about our unique freedom, plus firearms. Wish I had the cash and knowledge to try it.

    • Ricky Price March 23, 2018, 10:54 am

      Me to. Fight to the end.

  • AK March 23, 2018, 10:10 am

    Interesting, the definition of “hi-capacity” as over-30 rounds, when every other liberal venue up to now, it’s been 10. Is this a tacit surrender to unchangeable fact of the millions of ‘standard capacity’ 30-round mags out there now?

  • joefoam March 23, 2018, 9:04 am

    YouTube is well within their rights to do whatever they please, it is a private company not the government. The concern is that they control the minds of billions of viewers with their selection of content. These tech mega corps are becoming more powerful than governments and can’t be regulated.

    • Bill Tucker March 23, 2018, 10:22 am

      Bull crap! If the government can force bakers to violate their conscience on their own property, then we should be free to voice pro-gun videos on YouTube. If they trample on us, we should be able to trample on them.

      • Jon Dodge March 23, 2018, 10:44 am

        I agree

      • tsh77769 March 23, 2018, 4:46 pm

        AMEN!!

  • WillB March 23, 2018, 8:13 am

    Read about this Wednesday, so I decided to see if it was true. Went to youtube to look up how to make your own AR15. I figured if any “gun” videos had been censored that would be example #1. Surprise all the instructional videos were still available??? So, does this story fall under “fake” news?

    • WillB March 23, 2018, 9:25 am

      No its going in to effect soon. They were giving fair warning ,if you want to call it that. But allot of channels have too many videos to sift through where that the rules essentially ban the channel.

  • John March 23, 2018, 8:10 am

    But you can go on there all day long and look up videos for cooking meth. And that’s okay ?

  • Bob In Arizona March 23, 2018, 8:06 am

    The don’t need the 2nd Amendments business! FACEBOOK is busy not following their own rules, mining users data surreptitiously and selling it off to the highest bidder. But “Wonder Boy” is taking it in the shorts from the stock market and class action law suits by stock holders as-we-speak!! Love that!!

  • hipowerone March 23, 2018, 7:43 am

    I totally agree with the idea of creating media locations that are pro-gun, whether it be a social media sounding board or a video archive. Advertisers will follow the money and help support the cause. Sure, a few my balk, but the underlying truth is, money talks and rest walk.

    The fact of the matter is, I am very surprised that this has not already occurred! Like PVTMADNESS said, I do not go to PBS to watch sports, and I go out of my way to avoid non-supportive companies to buy my products. I search for and buy MADE IN USA first. I search for and support stores that support me first. Granted it doesn’t always work, but rest assured, DICK’S and others like them are the lowest places on my list for shopping.

    Maybe this does not sound like much, but if several million others did likewise, the offenders will feel the pinch in their pocket books. In this day and age, with technology, we can put together our own list of where to buy what. DICK’s may lose, but some small “mom and pop” shop may gain!

    • JohnB March 23, 2018, 9:42 am

      You are exactly right.
      In fact, I only glimpse at all local lying tv news media to see their ads so I know what to boycott next. If enough of us with even a smidgen of commonsense did this, the swamp would drain itself!

    • Ricky Price March 23, 2018, 10:59 am

      I hope Dick’s goes under and takes Walmart China with them.

  • Rick B March 23, 2018, 6:35 am

    YouTube’s long (play time) advertising has made it very unfriendly. I avoid it as much as possible. However, it is best at finding how to do, how to fix, how to videos on just about anything, including gun items. If they can stick to their stated policy, it may still be useful. But, I would really support an entirely different video venue (less commercially driven) dedicated to arms related information, like for guns, knives, archery, Personal and Home defense, etc. That way I would only have to go to YouTube to learn how to fix my refrigerator’s ice maker.

  • Dr Motown March 23, 2018, 6:12 am

    Time for the gun-rights groups to link up with libertarian groups, religious groups, and anyone else being censored, and start our own social-media network.

  • PVTMADNESS March 23, 2018, 4:55 am

    Why is YouTube’s action “censorship”? This isn’t National Public Radio or any other publicly funded broadcaster. The laws say that the GOVERNMENT can’t practice censorship. But it doesn’t say a private company can’t say what is discussed on its premises. And despite the fact that lots of people like to travel to YouTube land, it’s still a private venture that has the right to say who can or cannot play in it’s sandbox. What would you like the response to this decision to be, to have the government step in and regulate them more? To force them to provide access to gun related videos? Don’t get me wrong, I’m a gunner owner with plenty of black rifles and combat handguns. But I don’t see that it does our community any good to bash a company for exercising THEIR right to free speech and freedom to associate with whomever they please. Instead we need to stop whining and put together a channel that supports what we want to watch and provide the FREEDOM for everyone to come and watch gun related videos at their pleasure. If you want to watch sports, you go to a sports channel, not PBS. Why should we think it should be any different for gun related interests. All it took for YouTube to establish their channel was money. I’m sure there are plenty of 2nd amendment supporters out there that are willing to watch and support such a channel. What a great venue for gun manufacturers to support and advertise on! PM

    • deanbob March 23, 2018, 6:44 am

      You Tube us part of Google/Alphabet and can’t discriminate outside the law. When a person or company follows all of the printed rules of You Tube and still is censored for no apparent reason, shouldn’t You Tube/ Google have to explain or provide a reason that person or company has been discriminated against? Prager U provides short, common sense, educational videos (go to their website if you want to see and example). After posting some of their videos, You Tube began taking them down. When Prager U emailed and wrote letters asking for an explanation, no communication was received back. Following numerous attempts to resolve this issue with ZERO communication with You Tube, Prager U has filed suit.

      If no satisfactory resolution can be reached with You Tube, it may be advantageous for the various gun organizations to contact Prager U or Dennis Prager to discuss what they have experienced and possible join their lawsuit.

    • Tar Heel Realist March 23, 2018, 7:14 am

      “The laws say that the GOVERNMENT can’t practice censorship. But it doesn’t say a private company can’t say what is discussed on its premises.”

      “Censorship” is nothing more than the suppression of rights…religious and free speech to name a few. If Youtube is permitted this type of censorship, how is it a Bakery, that refuses to cater to the gay and lesbian community, is compelled by law to serve the general public of be forced to close?

    • shrugger March 23, 2018, 9:08 am

      They are no longer strictly a private Co. when they provably collude with governments to restrict, harass, oppress and censor citizens.
      At any rate the precedent has been set for them. They will bend over and take what they’ve been dishing out.
      #BakeTheCake

  • Wesley Westhoff March 23, 2018, 4:35 am

    To whom it may concern. I Wish to express my concern over your ban of gun related materials. I feel this is a bad practice and is going against the fist and second amendment ‘s thanks for your time.

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