NRA Slams YouTube Over Firearms Safety Censorship

Posted: Mar 27, 2018 9:00 AM

Last week it became clear YouTube is jumping all in on gun control by banning a number of channels run by gun companies, firearms enthusiasts and instructors. The video service argues this kind of content violates YouTube's terms of agreements and encourages violence. 

But the National Rifle Association, which trains hundreds of certified firearms instructors and has a YouTube page of its own, isn't buying the excuses. 

"YouTube is now in the business of political posturing and censorship. Millions of Americans watch YouTube videos every day to learn more about the safe and responsible use of firearms, and those videos show law-abiding gun owners participating in lawful behavior. By banning this content, YouTube is engaging in politically motivated censorship and alienating the millions of people who turn to the website for education and training," NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox said in a statement. "Currently, anyone can go to YouTube and watch a video to learn how to make a bomb, yet the company wants to ban videos depicting lawful gun use? It's absurd. This new policy runs counter to the American traditions of open dialogue and tolerance for diverse opinions and firmly plants YouTube, and its parent company Google, against the freedoms so many Americans hold dear."

The National Shooting Sports Foundation has also expressed concern about the censorship. 

"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," the organization 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."

A number of celebrities and gun control organizations have called on YouTube to ban firearm related content and for a complete NRATV ban on multiple platforms.