YouTube announced Tuesday that it is banning certain gun modification tutorials in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting. Stephen Paddock, the mass murderer, affixed bump stocks—a legal attachment that allows semiautomatic rifles to fire more rapidly—to a dozen of his guns. The website will now ban videos that show viewers how to use bump stocks. It is unclear, though, whether Paddock consulted these videos in preparation for his horrific attack.
The massacre in Las Vegas has kindled a debate on regulating bump stocks, with California Sen. Dianne Feinstein proposing a national ban on the attachments. It looks as if some Republicans and even the NRA might be open to additional regulations.
But it seems that YouTube has decided to jump ahead of the often-sluggish legislative debates on gun control. A statement that the company has been sending to reporters reads, “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.”
YouTube’s policy on harmful or dangerous content censors “dangerous or illegal activities include instructional bomb making, choking games, hard drug use, or other acts where serious injury may result.” Yet, as Gizmodo notes, it’s still ridiculously easy to find videos instructing viewers on how to increase the speed of their semiautomatic weapons. Some of videos still online as of Tuesday morning feature bump stocks, so it’s unclear how long it will take for this policy to go fully into effect. It often requires quite some time for censors to review and remove content from the site due to the sheer number of videos to wade through.