Youtube has banned “how to” bump stock gun modification demos from the site after a Las Vegas gunman employed the device to rapidly fire upon thousands of country music fans, killing 58 and injuring hundreds more.
Although the ownership of automatically-firing machine guns has been banned in the U.S. since 1986, a bump stock is a device you can add to a gun that will allow it to release rapid bursts of bullets. This looks and sounds similar to a machine gun, but is technically (and legally) not a military-grade automatic weapon.
Last week, House Speaker Paul Ryan acknowledged the threat that bump stocks pose to innocent human lives, telling MSNBC the legality of the devices is “clearly…something we need to look into.” YouTube, however, doesn’t need to wait for grinding political discourse, and has modified its user guidelines to include bump stock enhancement as dangerous content, which the site prohibits.
“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,” a YouTube spokesperson told Mashable.
“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.”
As shown on the site’s community guidelines, YouTube also bans material that intends to scam, threaten, and promote hate. With hundreds of thousands of videos being uploaded daily, YouTube relies upon its over one billion users to flag dangerous content — such as making a firearm shoot in rapid bursts — for review.
A YouTube “bump stock” search still brings up thousands of results, some of which are likely bumper stock tutorials that have yet to be removed. Many of the top videos are people showing off their bumper stocks, but not necessarily taking them apart and demonstrating the actual enhancement. One of the top videos, posted by GunsAmerica, has over 675,000 views and demonstrates that the “$99 Bump Stock Works!” It features a man firing a machine gun-like blast of bullets into a field.
Anyone that now wants to add a bump stock to their gun or guns may have a more difficult time finding DIY guidance on YouTube, but the devices may still stay legal.
Influential House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, after surviving a June assassination shooting attempt at a Washington D.C. baseball field, returned to Congress last week and resisted the notion of Congress banning bump stocks, over concerns that this will lead to a “slippery slope” on gun regulations.
“They want to go out and limit the rights of gun owners,” Scalise told Meet the Press.
YouTube remains flooded with gun-related content, but doesn’t want gun owners using the site to transform their firearms into weapons of war.