Hickok45's fans and subscribers were shocked to discover when they logged onto YouTube Wednesday morning that the popular firearm-toting channel had been shut down for "repeated violations of Google's policies."
The YouTube channel features segments following "Hickok45" as he shoots from a vast array of firearms on his homemade range, according to Guns.com. At the time of the channel's abrupt termination, Hickok45 had amassed nearly 2 million subscribers, the Tribunist reported.
After he discovered the channel's mysterious shut-down, Hickok45's Facebook page released this statement:
Apparently, Google + is more sensitive about firearms related postings and such. I never use Google+ and did not even realize the videos were being posted over there, I guess. I will keep you posted via Facebook here and the Hickok45andson channel. I have communicated with YouTube via email this morning, and hopefully, we'll be able to get the channel back up soon. I had just posted a new video.
ALSO: please stay tuned here and at the Hickok45andson channel on YouTube for any information. I cannot answer all the questions, of course, that are flowing in. I'll just have to keep you updated here as we know anything. Appreciate all the expressions of support. Thanks.
More than 11,000 supporters have "liked" this status thus far, and over 2,000 commenters expressed their outrage and offered their support for Hickok45.
"I went to YouTube and chose the option to send feed back, telling them to bring Hickock45 back. It's not much, but if enough of us do it, it might help," wrote one supporter.
Another wrote, "Your channel represents the best of YouTube and Firearms. Always informative, fun, friendly, with an emphasis on safety. Unbelievable that they took down your channel. I bought one of my first handguns after watching your video on the Ruger SR9. Hope it's back up again soon."
One frustrated commenter said, "I'm sick and tired of companies being 'sensitive' about gun topics. Facebook (advertising), Microsoft, Google, everyone is 'Sensitive' about our 2nd amendment rights while themselves leaning heavily on the 1st amendment."
The channel has since been reinstalled after fervent protests.
Part of YouTube's reason for taking down the channel may have been due to its prohibited weapon-related content policy, which states:
Google ads are not permitted to appear on sites that sell, facilitate or advocate the sales of weapons and weapon accessories. This includes but is not limited to the sales of ammunition, gun parts, hardware, pistols, rifles, BB guns, sporting guns, air guns, blow guns, and stun guns. This policy also prohibits the placement of ads on sites which sell explosives, including fireworks.
This story has been updated.
Follow Kathryn Blackhurst (@kablackhurst) on Twitter.