New Letter Identifies Dozens of Videos Showing How To Make Ghost Guns, In Clear Violation of YouTube Policies
NEW YORK – Today, Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund released a letter to YouTube urging the company to take action on videos in violation of its community guidelines which prohibit providing instructions on manufacturing firearms.
An Everytown investigation into the platform found dozens of videos which teach users how to construct deadly, untraceable ghost guns at home — using both prefabricated 80-percent-finished kits and 3D printers to construct firearms. Collectively, these videos have been viewed over 5.8 million times and the vast majority of the videos have been on the platform for years, some dating as far back as 2015.
Everytown’s letter urges YouTube to not only remove these specific videos, but to strengthen enforcement of its community guidelines that prohibit this content. While YouTube has relatively strong guidelines on the issue, the company’s moderation and removal practices clearly do not match these guidelines. Everytown has offered its support and expertise in keeping the platform safe from ghost guns.
“Untraceable ghost guns are one of the fastest growing threats to public safety, and the fastest way to learn how to put one together is to watch a video on YouTube,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “YouTube’s prohibition of ghost gun how-to videos is a good start, but now we need those rules to be enforced.”
“These dangerous videos, providing step-by-step guides on how to create untraceable firearms at home, don’t just violate our sense of morality, they violate YouTube’s own policies,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “These videos need to be taken down immediately — and YouTube should take action to prevent similar videos from being posted in the future.”
“Technology platforms, such as YouTube, have a responsibility to users and the public at-large to ensure that posts do not provide step-by-step instructions for assembling ghost guns,” said Justin Wagner, Everytown’s senior director of investigations. “As the country’s largest gun violence prevention organization, Everytown stands ready to assist YouTube in keeping its platform safe.”
The rise of ghost guns is one the fastest-growing gun safety threats in recent years. In May, President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice, through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), issued a proposed rule to stop the proliferation of deadly, untraceable ghost guns –– a move that Everytown first called for from the Biden Administration in December 2020. The proposed rule will strengthen the regulation over frames, receivers, and ghost gun “kits”, therefore requiring that the core parts for ghost guns be sold with a serial number and a background check.