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Youtube has gone all-in on the gun debate.
The video sharing platform weighed in on gun control this week by placing restrictions on firearm-related content, including banning videos that sell or promote the sale of guns and some gun accessories, Bloomberg reports.
Among the accessories to be blacklisted are bump stocks, which allow semiautomatic weapons to emulate automatic rapid-fire. Under the new policy, Youtube will also ban videos that instruct users how to build firearms.
In a statement, Youtube said:
“We routinely make updates and adjustments to our enforcement guidelines across all of our policies. While we’ve long prohibited the sale of firearms, we recently notified creators of updates we will be making around content promoting the sale or manufacture of firearms and their accessories.”
The new policies start in April, but two Youtube channels said they have already been affected.
Spike’ Tactical wrote on Instagram Tuesday that their account was suspended.
Their caption read: “The Liberal Left will slowly chip away at our freedoms and erode our rights, and the first step is to squelch our voice.”
Another channel, InRange TV, said they are moving their videos to an adult website.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation responded to the decision, writing on its website:
“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.”
NSFF also worried that Youtube will be swayed by activists to block any content that offends left-wing sensibilities.
“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.”
The pro-gun group claimed that Youtube’s move violates the First Amendment because “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.”
NSFF referred to a US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case to argue that the Second Amendment is also being infringed.
“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.'”