YouTube rolls out major change after Las Vegas shooting — and it targets gun enthusiasts

YouTube rolls out major change after Las Vegas shooting — and it targets gun enthusiasts
YouTube has made a policy change after the Las Vegas shooting, banning videos that show users how to modify their guns to make them shoot faster. (Eric Piermont/AFP/Getty Images)

YouTube has taken decisive action after the Las Vegas shooting, and firearm enthusiasts will not be thrilled with the company’s decision.

What did YouTube do?

Youtube has expanded a policy that will now ban videos that show how to modify firearms to make them more deadly, such as adding a bump fire stock. They said such videos are “harmful” and “dangerous.”

A YouTube spokesman said: “We have long had a policy against harmful and dangerous content. In the wake of the recent tragedy in Las Vegas, we have taken a closer look at videos that demonstrate how to convert firearms to make them fire more quickly and we’ve expanded our existing policy to prohibit these videos.”

Such gun modification videos were available for view prior to the ban, but the Google-owned company is now in the process of removing existing content.

What did YouTube prohibit prior to the change?

From YouTube’s harmful content policy:

While it might not seem fair to say you can’t show something because of what viewers might do in response, we draw the line at content that intends to incite violence or encourage dangerous or illegal activities that have an inherent risk of serious physical harm or death.

Why is YouTube changing the policy?

Twelve of the semi-automatic weapons that were in the Las Vegas shooter’s possession were modified with bump stocks, which use a semi-automatic rifle’s recoil to fire like it’s fully automatic. The devices allowed the shooter to kill and maim many more people than he could have with just semi-automatic rifles, which fire only as quick as the shooter can pull the trigger.

In the week since the shooting, many across the country, including Republicans and even the National Rifle Association, have said they would support a ban or increased regulations on bump stocks.

The ATF last ruled the devices legal under the Obama administration in 2010 and 2012.

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