YouTube bans bump stock instructional videos following Las Vegas shooting

Brian Heater
The popular format introduced by Snapchat, then adopted by Instagram, Skype, Facebook, Messenger and even some dating apps, is now making its way to YouTube as a new feature the company is calling "Reels."

Following a mass shooting in Las Vegas earlier this month that left 58 people dead and 489 injured, YouTube is removing video tutorials demonstrating how to make rifles more deadly using a device called a “bump stock.”

The modding method allows for bump firing, allowing semi-automatic weapons to fire similarly to fully automatic ones, using the gun’s kickback to rapidly activate the trigger. The technique is not currently banned by federal law. It has, however, come under increased scrutiny after it was discovered that shooter Stephen Paddock used it to fire hundreds of rounds into a crowd at Mandalay Bay.

The shooting has since been declared the deadliest committed by a single individual in U.S. history. California Senator Diane Feinstein has subsequently gone on record, declaring a need for a law banning the technology. The NRA responded by stopping short of a full ban, instead calling for regulation similar to those that govern the guns themselves.

YouTube confirmed the ban in a statement provided to TechCrunch. “We have long had a policy against harmful and dangerous content,” a spokesperson for the company writes. “In the wake of the recent tragedy in Las Vegas, we took a closer look at videos that demonstrate how to convert firearms to make them fire more quickly and we expanded our existing policy to prohibit these videos.”

As the spokesperson points out, the ban isn’t entirely new, rather it’s an expansion of existing rules. The new ban on bump stocks joins existing guidelines on the site that already include links to the sale of firearms and bump stocks themselves. Videos that are deemed in violation of the site’s community guidelines can be flagged for removal by the general public.

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