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New York DA Bragg Pushes for Ghost Gun YouTube Content Removal

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Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has widened his campaign against untraceable “ghost guns,” by pushing for YouTube to remove videos about such topics.

According to Bragg, YouTube’s recommendation algorithm paves a path from shooter-style video game guides to homemade firearm assembly via 3D printing instructions.

We obtained a copy of Bragg’s letter to YouTube here.

“We are seeing actual cases with actual people with ghost guns who are telling us they got the ghost gun because of YouTube,” Bragg alleged, causing him to set his sights on the video giant.

The DA’s office used YouTube screenshots to illustrate how suggestions from popular Call of Duty (a game with an age rating of 18+) gameplay subsequently led to tutorial videos on 3D-printed firearms construction.

Bragg used the idea that the videos could be recommended to kids to further pressure the platform to remove the videos.

“All you need is a computer and a mouse and an interest in gaming, and you can go from games to guns in 15 minutes,” Bragg said.

“What we want to happen today is for YouTube to not have an algorithm that pushes people, especially our youth, to ghost guns,” he complained.

New York has implemented stringent measures to combat the proliferation of ghost guns, untraceable firearms often assembled from kits or 3D-printed components.

In 2021, the state passed legislation that explicitly banned the sale, possession, and distribution of ghost gun parts and kits, suggesting a growing threat these unregistered firearms pose to public safety.

The new laws make it illegal to own or sell any gun that lacks a serial number, a crucial step to prevent untraceable weapons from circulating in the black market.

But content about ghost guns, including discussions on how to assemble them or create 3D-printed firearm components is, many free speech groups agree, likely protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech and expression.

Many rights groups, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), contend that even blueprints for creating firearms, including those for ghost guns, are protected by the First Amendment.

This stance is rooted in the belief that information, in its various forms, is a form of speech. This extends to digital files, like blueprints and code, used to create 3D-printed guns or assemble other untraceable firearms.

Politicians are increasingly becoming comfortable in pressuring tech platforms to remove certain types of content, citing public safety and national security concerns.

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