by George Rasley, CHQ Editor
This past week major corporations made several announcements that should be profoundly troubling to liberty-loving Americans.
The first was that Google’s YouTube would takedown and begin censoring gun-related content. They were not talking about content advocating violence or illegal acts, such as the Antifa and jihadi content that has often been reported on the platform. Instead, the search giant announced it was censoring perfectly legal demonstration and entertainment content they decided they didn’t like – even if it was legal.
According to anti-gun news outlet Bloomberg, which first reported the news:
YouTube will ban videos that promote or link to websites selling firearms and accessories, including bump stocks, which allow a semi-automatic rifle to fire faster. Additionally, YouTube said it will prohibit videos with instructions on how to assemble firearms. The video site, owned by Alphabet Inc.’s Google, has faced intense criticism for hosting videos about guns, bombs and other deadly weapons.
For many gun-rights supporters, YouTube has been a haven. A current search on the site for “how to build a gun” yields 25 million results, though that includes items such as toys. At least one producer of gun videos saw its page suspended on Tuesday. Another channel opted to move its videos to an adult-content site, saying that will offer more freedom than YouTube.
Bloomberg reports the new YouTube policies will be enforced starting in April, but at least two firearms-related channels have already been affected.
Spike’s Tactical, a firearms company, said in a post on Facebook that it was suspended from YouTube due to “repeated or severe violations” of the video platform’s guidelines.
“Well, since we’ve melted some snowflakes on YouTube and got banned, might as well set IG and FB on fire!” Spike’s wrote on Facebook, where it has over 111,000 followers, referring to the social network and its Instagram app. A YouTube spokeswoman said the channel has been reinstated after it was mistakenly removed.
Bloomberg reports InRange TV, another channel devoted to firearms, wrote on its Facebook page that it would begin uploading videos to PornHub, an adult content website to escape YouTube’s censorship.
Bloomberg also reported that on Wednesday several popular firearms-related communities were removed from link-sharing site Reddit after an update to the company’s policies.
“As of March 21, 2018, we have made a new addition to our content policy forbidding transactions for certain classes of goods and services,” a Reddit spokesperson said in an emailed statement. The new policy impacted pages, known as subreddits, which discussed firearms and ammunition, putting those legal items in the same category as explosives, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, stolen goods, personal information, paid services involving physical sexual contact and falsified documents.
Bloomberg reporters Polly Mosendz and Lizette Chapman note that Reddit is the sixth-most-visited site in the world and has been something of a Wild West for users building communities by curating and commenting on content in subreddits. Sometimes, as in the case with gun sales, marketplaces emerge in the course of conversations within specific communities, however, that liberty-based business model is now ending.
Mosendz and Chapman report that Reddit CEO and co-founder Steve Huffman earlier this month told a panel at the South by Southwest conference that banning communities is a long process that involves “internal hand wringing” around the importance of protecting free speech, but apparently the “hand wringing” is over regarding free speech about perfectly legal gun discussions and sales.
However, even more worrying than the social media censorship is the announcement that Citigroup Inc. plans to prohibit retailers that are customers of the bank from offering bump stocks or selling guns to people who haven’t passed a background check or are younger than 21.
Setting aside the fact that it is already illegal for a gun retailer (licensed federal firearms dealer) to sell a gun to someone who has not passed a background check, age-related discrimination against retail customers is already working its way into the courts and would clearly seem to be contrary to federal law.
“The policy was designed to respect the rights of responsible gun owners while helping to keep firearms out of the wrong hands,” Citigroup Chief Executive Officer Mike Corbat said in the memo to staff reported by Bloomberg’s Jennifer Surane and Polly Mosendz. “It is clear to me that most people believe there are areas of agreement and practical changes we can make to find common ground.”
But that’s not the most worrying part of the Citibank announcement.
Corbat then dropped this bombshell; the bank would encourage other financial services firms to find technology solutions or come up with voluntary standards that would push more change.
In other words, Citibank has announced it is leading a corporate conspiracy to undermine the Second Amendment and promote such other “change” as may be necessary to achieve its goals.
So, let me connect the dots for you.
Media and internet near-monopolies are arbitrarily and capriciously censoring and de-monetizing legal firearms related content and prohibiting legal firearms transactions. A too big to fail bank, the largest credit card issuer in the country, is leading a conspiracy of banks and financial institutions to blacklist legal firearms manufacturing and retail sales.
Now one more dot; all of these entities are working to together to push for “more change,” as it relates to Second Amendment rights, which we note, can only be accomplished by attacking other fundamental rights and liberties.
That seems to us to be near text book definition of a corporate-led counterrevolution against the populist and limited government constitutional conservative coalition that elected Trump. Please join the debate and let us know what you think in the comments section below.
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CHQ Editor George Rasley is a Glock® certified pistol armorer and is a veteran of over 300 political campaigns, including every Republican presidential campaign from 1976 to 2008. He served as lead advance representative for Governor Sarah Palin in 2008 and has served as a staff member, consultant or advance representative for some of America’s most recognized conservative Republican political figures, including President Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. A member of American MENSA, he served in policy and communications positions on the House and Senate staff, and during the George H.W. Bush administration he served on the White House staff of Vice President Dan Quayle.