YouTube Takes Aim at Guns & First Amendment

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By Sam Bocetta:

Guns are about to be sexy again. Yeah, you read that right.

Thanks to YouTube’s decision to remove videos by gun enthusiasts, things are heating up and content creators are not taking this attempt at censorship lying down.

It all started in the fall when YouTube responded to the mass shooting in Las Vegas by altering its extant policies. At the time, they decided to ban videos featuring advice on how to make guns fire more rapidly.

Now, less than six months later, they have revised their policies again, adding that they prohibit videos that show how to make a firearm, ammo, high-capacity magazine or homemade silencers. Also on the chopping block are any videos that are “designed to sell guns or specific accessories including high-capacity magazines and tools that convert a firearm to automatic fire.”

InRangeTV, a channel with nearly 150,000 subscribers, made a bold move in the wake of the new policies. They opted to leave YouTube and publish their videos to the adult website Pornhub. For the uninitiated, Pornhub is exactly what its moniker would suggest—a website for watching pornographic videos.

So, why, then, is a gun-related channel uploading content to this site? It’s a question whose answer can best be summed up by another question posed by InRangeTV’s creators. In a statement on Facebook, they said that they were defending “freedom of expression on the internet,” adding “Why are we seeing continuing restrictions and challenges towards content about something demonstrably legal yet not against that which is clearly illegal?”

It’s a valid question given the onslaught of dangerous material made readily available on the platform. YouTube has been under fire for several years due to inappropriate content aimed at children. In 2015, they faced major media backlash after child advocacy groups challenged the safety and responsibility of their YouTube Kids app.

The Campaign for Commercial Free Childhood (CCFC) and the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) issued a letter to the FCC at the time that noted vile content including “jokes about pedophilia and drug use.”

YouTube responded by pulling ads on inappropriate videos in a move that amounted to little more than a slap on the wrist. This is not at all rare for the video platform; earlier this year, they added a video of entitled brat Logan Paul mocking a dead body to their coveted Trending page before temporarily suspending his channel.

After the suspension was over, Mr. Paul did what any entitled YouTube personality would do. He made a saccharine video of him interviewing a suicide survivor and made sure to hug the guy at the end like they were lifelong besties…then he was right back at it, electrocuting a dead animal.

YouTube had no problem with the defiling of an animal’s corpse, but guns? Icky! That’s a no-no. By comparison, Pornhub seem like bastions of liberty.

While restricting users from treating a YouTube channel like an online gun store by offering products and services is somewhat understandable, it’s frankly mind-boggling to try and rationalize a ban on content featuring the assembly or disassembly of a firearm, to say nothing of videos that feature fathers and sons having fun at target practice. This erosion of the first amendment is made that much worse by the move by content creators to Pornhub.

It sends a clear message to Americans that guns are relegated to the annals of filth. When the only place you can watch a tutorial on assembling a bolt carrier group is on a website full of simulated rape videos and sick fetishes, you can be excused for feeling as though you’re living in a bizarre dystopia straight out of Fahrenheit 451.

There are plenty of pages online where one can read a guide to AR-15 upgrades and the like, and attempts to ban the assault-style rifles have stalled in the Senate, but once Americans are stripped of their First Amendment rights, the Second Amendment cannot be far behind.

Already we are seeing a push for widespread censorship with liberals taking to Twitter to put pressure on sites like Amazon to drop NRA TV. Evidently, when the Left isn’t telling retailers to stop selling guns, they’re telling us we can’t look at guns.

Liberals would like people to believe that the NRA’s streaming service is chock-a-block with trigger-happy white supremacists, but the truth is far different. NRA TV is a diverse network that features African-American content as well as informative shows from veterans and security experts.

As the host of their show Noir says, “Guns aren’t political. They’re the symbolic representation of your right to live,” and it is that right that these shows and videos celebrate.

Hickock45 is a YouTuber with 3.1 million subscribers who enjoy his “deep woods thoughts” and advice for beginners who have never shot a gun before. He gives tips on shooting along with helpful life lessons.

Demolition Ranch is a family-friendly channel run by a veterinarian who uses donations from viewers to treat wounded or sick homeless animals, showcasing the results on his second channel, Vet Ranch.

SootchOO is a versatile channel for learning about firearms, knives and other survival tools. The channel encourages parents to teach their children gun safety and promotes self-defense. The channel’s official motto is “FUN GUN REVIEWS & SENSIBLE SURVIVAL.” It encourages independent thinking and self-reliance.

None of these channels, or the tons of other gun-related videos on YouTube, advocate violence or misanthropy and, yet, they are being targeted by an anti-gun movement who blame all gun owners for the actions of a few socially maladjusted, mentally unstable school shooters.

In their efforts to protect the public from gun violence, they have failed to identify the public’s love of guns. If Hickock45’s channel can teach us anything it’s that millions of people want to talk about guns, millions of people want to see guns in action and millions of people value their Second Amendment right.

The Left can force gun videos to be lumped together with pornography all they want, but most of us can tell the difference between obscenity and old-fashioned American freedom.

© Copyright by Sam Bocetta, 2018. All rights reserved.

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Sam Bocetta
About Sam Bocetta 7 Articles
Sam Bocetta is a retired contractor who worked for over 35 years as an engineer specializing in cyber warfare and Navy computer systems. Past projects include the development of EWTR systems, Antifragile EW project, and development of Chaff countermeasures. Sam now teaches at Algonquin Community College in Ottawa, Canada as a part time engineering professor.