YouTube, the video streaming and upload service owned by Google, is going after lawful gun owners and companies by taking down channels. The company argues videos of individuals shooting firearms violates terms of agreement and promotes violence.
This week, YouTube went after Florida based AR-15 manufacturer Spike's Tactical and terminated their channel without warning.
But it turns out, Spike's Tactical isn't alone and a number of firearms companies and channels owned by Second Amendment enthusiasts have been banned.
YouTube, a popular media site for firearms enthusiasts, this week quietly introduced tighter restrictions on videos involving weapons, becoming the latest battleground in the U.S. gun-control debate.
“We routinely make updates and adjustments to our enforcement guidelines across all of our policies,” a YouTube spokeswoman said in a statement. “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 National Shooting Sports Foundation is expressing concern over the new policies and argue they will extend well beyond what YouTube currently claims are new policies. They also argues the move infringes on free speech.
"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," NSSF released in a statement.
"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," the statement continues.
In the meantime, gun companies are taking their videos to other video websites.