Is YouTube getting stupider on gun videos?

Is YouTube getting stupider on gun videos?
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File

I spend a fair bit of my day on YouTube. Lately, I’ve been watching videos pointing out financial scams like shady cryptocurrency and get-rich-quick schemes, but there are a lot of things to watch on YouTube if you want.

That includes gun YouTube. We probably all know Forgotten Weapons, for example.

Another popular YouTuber is Donut Operator, who, as of this writing, has 3.88 million subscribers. He also has a problem. It seems YouTube is being stupid again.

On Monday, he tweeted, “Just a heads up to firearm YouTubers. It is now against community guidelines, meaning you will get a strike, to insert a 30 round magazine into a gun. YouTube considers that a ‘weapon modification.’ I am not joking.”

That’s quite an accusation, of course.

YouTube’s published guidelines don’t mention any such thing. Those say you can’t show someone how to build a 30-round magazine or try to sell such a magazine, but beyond that, everything should be hunky dory.

But this is one of Google’s companies. It hasn’t been exactly friendly or clear toward gun channels in the past. There’s no reason to believe that wouldn’t be the case today.

Cody Garrett, also known as Donut Operator, went on to note that using NFA items could cause you problems.

Now, one could make the case that folks at YouTube might be oblivious to people being able to lawfully own full-auto weapons and suppressors, thus the response, but they’d have to be too dumb to remember how to breathe if they didn’t realize that what they term as “high capacity magazines” were legal in most of the country.

They can’t use any claims of ignorance to justify giving out community strikes for inserting a magazine.

And it’s apparently just the insertion.

Now, this is one person’s experience, so it may not be typical. As a result, I reached out to Google. As of now, the company hasn’t replied, nor do I really expect it to do so. Google hasn’t on anything else I’ve reached out on, so why would this be any different?

Yet the Donut Operator channel isn’t a new one. You don’t get 3.88 million subscribers overnight. As such, it’s unlikely he’d blame a community strike on something like this when it’s really something like having copyrighted music on his channel. He’s been at the game long enough that he knows to avoid stuff like that.

And this isn’t a good thing since it suggests that YouTube views 30-round magazines as somehow wrong and is also seeking to de-normalize their use.

YouTube is not doing it all at once since it seems the issue is just inserting such a magazine into the weapon, but I suspect this will just be the beginning. The next step would be community strikes for using such magazines, which I suspect we’ll see in a year or so, though I’d love to be wrong.

If I hear back from YouTube, we might find out whether that’s accurate or not. However, I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for them to respond.