This Valentine’s Day, five senators sent YouTube their favorite kind of love letter.
On February 14, Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Christopher Murphy (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Edward Markey (D-MA) to YouTube’s CEO, Susan Wojcicki, demanding that it delete and deplatform videos depicting how to assemble a firearm at home. It’s 100% legal to manufacture your own guns as long as you don’t try to sell them, and always has been. It’s also 100% legal to make videos explaining to other people how to do that. Both of the above practices are specifically protected by the Bill of Rights. It’s true that YouTube is a private entity and can choose to host content as it wishes…but the Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) has some thoughts on the matter.
Government officials using their position and authority to demand that private businesses do what they constitutionally cannot is neither American nor moral. Unfortunately, this is increasingly the reality in today’s United States of America. The self-manufacturing of arms and related speech is not only permissible under federal law, it is steeped in American tradition and protected by the Constitution. But as we’ve seen time and time again, when the law isn’t on their side, tyrants will strongarm the private sector into doing their authoritarian bidding for them.
Shocking precisely no one, some of the most notorious tyrants in Congress—Senators Blumenthal, Menendez, Murphy, Booker, and Markey—have again shown that there is nothing beneath them in their quixotic quest to red-line the Constitution and limit the rights of the People. Their blatantly coercive letter to YouTube demanding removal of lawful content and the de-platforming of speakers must be seen for what it is: A shameful abuse of authority, and proof-positive that the Second Amendment is at least as necessary today as it was when the natural right to keep and bear arms was enshrined in the Bill of Rights.
Rather than bow to censorious, authoritarian politicians who hate the Second Amendment and the people who exercise those rights, YouTube should stand strong and live up to its mission to, among other things, “give everyone a voice.” We agree with YouTube that “people should be able to speak freely,” that “everyone should have easy, open access to information,” and that “everyone should have a chance to be discovered, build a business and succeed on their own terms, and that people—not gatekeepers—decide what’s popular.” But their actions must match their words.
FPC calls on YouTube to reject these senators’ demands and protect speech, not placate authoritarian politicians.
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