Montana AG wants YouTube to repost gun videos

Montana AG wants YouTube to repost gun videos
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

On Thursday, I wrote a bit about YouTube. In particular, an “investigation” by a news channel that found videos on the platform that they claimed could “train” a radicalized individual.

Over the years, YouTube has done a lot to try and restrict gun videos.

I’m not talking about people illegally converting their AR-15s into full-auto or anything like that. Since there’s a general understanding that people shouldn’t post illegal crap on the site, that wouldn’t rankle nearly as many feathers.

No, they bar people from posting videos showing lawful conduct with a firearm.

Now, the Montana attorney general is demanding YouTube put all that content back up.

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen is asking YouTube to “stop discriminating against conservative views” and restore lawful videos it removed, a Wednesday letter revealed.

The letter comes in the wake of YouTube removing several videos related to firearms, including one from licensed gun dealer Jason Schaller, who gave a tutorial on how to construct a gun legally.

“So long as YouTube acts hand-in-glove with federal politicians to repress constitutional rights, states will continue finding ways to reign in the power of Big Tech,” Knudsen wrote.

“It is past time that you considered the consequences of those actions for your company’s bottom line and withdrew your complicity from the trampling of rights disfavored by D.C. Democrats.”

Knudsen’s full letter can be found here. It’s not particularly short, but that’s quite alright. (You’ll especially like some of the footnotes. Number 10 is my favorite.)

Look, I know the argument. YouTube is a private company and they can allow or disallow whatever content they want.

Moreover, I tend to agree with that.

Yet let’s remember that YouTube didn’t just up and decide one day that they weren’t going to allow videos showing people how to lawfully construct a firearm or modify their AR-15 in a perfectly legal manner. No, that didn’t just come out of the blue.

That came amid pressure from politicians who seemed interested in restricting what social media platforms like YouTube could do when it came to guns. So, the site changed their policy.

The truth was that YouTube likely didn’t want anything to do with restricting certain kinds of videos–at least, they didn’t back then. Since then, they’ve kind of come to enjoy it–but they liked the lack of government regulation even more.

As the “investigation” I discussed yesterday noted, some of those videos sneak through, but since it’s a policy matter rather than a government regulation, YouTube doesn’t have to worry about fines and whatnot.

So, they folded and changed the policy.

What Knudsen is going is simply demanding they go back to the way they used to have things structured. If they don’t, then he’s doing essentially the same thing anti-gunners did in the past. He’s threatening regulation if they fail to listen.

While I tend to disfavor regulation as a general rule, I also tend to believe turnabout is fair play.

The truth is YouTube should restore those gun videos. It should restore all of them. It’s not like YouTube is the only place to get that information, but it’s an easy platform to find stuff on that could benefit thousands more folks than it would allegedly harm.