YouTube Is Cracking Down on Gun Content, and 3D-Printed Gun Makers Aren’t Happy

YouTube announced this week it will place new restrictions on the types of gun-related videos that can appear on the video-sharing platform, including a ban on videos that directly promote the sale of firearms and new 18+ restrictions on videos about 3D printing guns. And, as you can imagine, people who create 3D-printed weapons, often referred to as ghost guns, are not happy about any of it.

The new policies won’t be imposed on artistic representations of guns in mediums like video games, and YouTube notes that public interest videos largely won’t see restrictions, including content involving “military or police footage, news footage, or footage from warzones.” However, if your YouTube channel is devoted to showing off how well your latest 3D-printed gun can shoot, that’s going to get age-restricted very soon.

Any instructions on removing safety devices, as well as displays of automatic firearms and various firearm accessories, will also become 18+ on the video platform starting June 18, YouTube said in its announcement.

One of the more popular 3D-printed weapons accounts, known as Print Shoot Repeat, posted videos on X and YouTube talking about the new rules. The anonymous creator behind it even notes how Print Shoot Repeat was called out in the report by advocacy group Everytown, which first precipitated this policy change, prompting him to change the name of his account to PSR on YouTube.

New YouTube Firearms Policy Is Not Looking Good

The creator behind Print Shoot Repeat claims in the video that according to YouTube’s analytics, people under the age of 18 made up just 1.4% of the viewers on his channel. Gizmodo couldn’t independently verify those numbers.

The creator says that it doesn’t matter if his channel loses people under the age of 18 since most viewers are adults. But his videos will still get buried by the algorithm because they won’t be surfaced in the same way and won’t be visible to anyone without a YouTube account that’s signed in.

Print Shoot Repeat was also frustrated with the fact that news videos and war videos won’t be age-restricted.

“So guys getting blown up in trenches in Ukraine by drones? Ha, totally not age-restricted,” the creator said. “ Me firing a 3D printed pink glock that I made? Age-restricted. We don’t need kids watching that. We want kids watching people getting blown up by mines. Love it. Awesome.”

YouTube told Gizmodo that the change in policies about 3D-printed guns was brought about because the 3D printing space has changed dramatically in a relatively short period of time.

“These updates to our firearms policy are part of our continued efforts to maintain policies that reflect the current state of content on YouTube,” company spokesperson Javier Hernandez told Gizmodo by email. “For example, 3D printing has become more readily available in recent years so we’re expanding our restrictions on content involving homemade firearms. We regularly review our guidelines and consult with outside experts to make sure we are drawing the line at the right place.”

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