The gun community seems to have a love-hate relationship with YouTube.
On one hand, the video service plays host to all or most of our favorite gun channels, sharing new information about firearms and firearm-related issues.
On the other, they clearly don’t actually value the Second Amendment.
It doesn’t help when you’ve got a bunch of United States senators calling on YouTube to remove perfectly legal and lawful content, which is happening.
And the Firearms Policy Coalition is calling on YouTube to ignore them.
Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) issued the following statement in response to the February 14, 2022 letter from Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Christopher Murphy (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Edward Markey (D-MA) to YouTube’s CEO, Susan Wojcicki, demanding that it remove lawful content from its platform:
Government officials using their position and authority to demand that private businesses do what they constitutionally cannot is neither American nor moral. Unfortunately, this is increasingly the reality in today’s United States of America. The self-manufacturing of arms and related speech is not only permissible under federal law, it is steeped in American tradition and protected by the Constitution. But as we’ve seen time and time again, when the law isn’t on their side, tyrants will strongarm the private sector into doing their authoritarian bidding for them.
Shocking precisely no one, some of the most notorious tyrants in Congress—Senators Blumenthal, Menendez, Murphy, Booker, and Markey—have again shown that there is nothing beneath them in their quixotic quest to red-line the Constitution and limit the rights of the People. Their blatantly coercive letter to YouTube demanding removal of lawful content and the de-platforming of speakers must be seen for what it is: A shameful abuse of authority, and proof-positive that the Second Amendment is at least as necessary today as it was when the natural right to keep and bear arms was enshrined in the Bill of Rights.
Rather than bow to censorious, authoritarian politicians who hate the Second Amendment and the people who exercise those rights, YouTube should stand strong and live up to its mission to, among other things, “give everyone a voice.” We agree with YouTube that “people should be able to speak freely,” that “everyone should have easy, open access to information,” and that “everyone should have a chance to be discovered, build a business and succeed on their own terms, and that people—not gatekeepers—decide what’s popular.” But their actions must match their words.
FPC calls on YouTube to reject these senators’ demands and protect speech, not placate authoritarian politicians.
FPC is absolutely correct in this, too.
Look, YouTube is a private enterprise, so they can do what they wish. If we don’t like it, we can go elsewhere–and competition is starting to pop up–and give those other platforms our eyeballs.
However, this isn’t really about YouTube’s choices. This is about sitting senators essentially making demands of a private enterprise.
See, when a senator sends a letter calling on a private party to do something, there’s an implied threat unless it’s clearly stated that they have a right to do what they’re doing, even if the senators disagree with it.
Blumenthal’s letter contains no such clause.
Further, it includes a list of questions that they expect YouTube to answer in writing. That’s a problem.
See, the senators have the right to ask anyone to do anything as private citizens, same as the rest of us, but with the list of questions, it sure feels like the start of a congressional investigation into a private party’s actions.
As such, I urge YouTube to take a step back and recognize what’s happening. This is an attempt to bully a private entity into doing what these senators want, even though the actions they’re taking issue with are perfectly lawful.
YouTube should tell them to pound sand.
They won’t, unfortunately, but I could at least respect it.