NSSF: De-Platforming of Gun Sites Is a Dark Harbinger

By Joe Bartozzi

censored
Open censorship of dissenting voices by Big Tech doesn’t bode well for Americans. IMG iStock-1055867850

U.S.A. -(AmmoLand.com)- Throughout history, censorship has occurred whenever government or private groups attempt to impose their political or moral values on others. One would imagine that this could never happen in the freest and prosperous country in the history of the world.

This type of activity clearly seems incongruous with the founding principles – not to mention the Constitution.  In fact, our nation, our national ideals, and our very democracy thrive on the vigorous debate of strongly-held beliefs. The key element in this process is the debate. We, as Americans have always valued a spirited debate, whereafter the best ideas come to the fore, are refined, and people can support them because they are confident that they have had input into that process.

We, the members of the firearm industry, are certainly no stranger to the vigorous debate needed to defend our constitutionally-protected freedoms. Our industry is perennially targeted for encroachments to limit and chip away at Second Amendment rights. Those attacks come from all directions, including politicians, activists, and even sitting and retired U.S. Supreme Court justices. This is familiar ground for us.

But, what’s happening now is different. De-platforming, canceling, and outright censoring of speech by some in big tech is something entirely different. It’s Orwellian. It’s un-American, and it’s a dark omen for where we are headed as a nation.

The silencing of dissenting voices is a rejection of the nation’s first motto – a motto that is carried in the beak of the bald eagle on the National Seal: E Pluribus Unum. Out of many, one.

ACLU Troubled

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the watchdog for our constitutionally-protected rights, is troubled by all this. They’re hardly an advocate for conservatism, and we in the firearm industry are often at odds with their willing embrace of gun control over gun rights.

The ACLU’s senior legislative counsel Kate Ruane wrote in a statement, “… it should concern everyone when companies like Facebook and Twitter wield the unchecked power to remove people from platforms that have become indispensable for the speech of billions — especially when political realities make those decisions easier.”

Newsweek magazine hosted an op-ed by Jonathan Tobin that condemned big tech’s overreach to silence dissenting opinions.

He wrote, “…the response from Big Tech illustrates that fears about these companies using their unique power to shut down content they disapprove of is no longer one about a mere ‘slippery slope’ to censorship. That censorship is now at our doorstep.”

The difference between a newspaper not running an op-ed and Google, Twitter, and Amazon shutting down entire businesses is that The New York Times has competitors.  The Wall Street Journal or New York Post can, and often do, offer a decidedly different viewpoint. But Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, and other tech giants have a complete monopoly on the internet. In fact, when competing companies like Google and Amazon collude to set the rules and eliminate competitors, it can be argued that they are swerving into the lane of antitrust behavior.

These tech giants say they’re private businesses and can do as they please. Yet, they also profit from government protections that don’t apply to more traditional news outlets. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act gives these tech companies immunity from what others post on their sites. These companies are now using that protection to silence the voices that that section of the law was intended to protect.

Familiar Cold Shoulder

The firearm industry has long argued that the internet is the public square. Along with that, sites like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and others are where modern Americans go to learn about the news of the day, gather information, and use that information to make their own judgments and opine on those ideas.  The Pew Research Center found that about half of U.S. adults get their news through social media. When big tech colludes to quash dissent, like what happened when Apple and Google simultaneously de-platformed Parler, they act irresponsibly. Silencing opposing opinions is about as un-American an idea as there ever could be.

Even the Washington Post, never mistaken to be a bastion of conservative ideas, adopted the motto “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” Now, these tech giants are pulling the plug and turning out the lights on ideas with which they disagree.

It’s not just social media forums. They’re canceling gun-oriented websites too. GoDaddy, an internet service provider (ISP) owned by Jeff Bezos’ Amazon, pulled the plug on AR15.com. The reason for flipping off the switch was an alleged violation of the terms of agreement. The answer was final. There was no method of appeal or redress.

So where does this all lead to?  The first thing I would offer is that all Americans, regardless of which side of the political spectrum they come from, should be appalled by the indiscriminate silencing of opinion and debate.  We should expect our elected representatives to passionately investigate policies that have a direct impact on the lives of their constituents. They must also jealously guard their oaths of office – to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. The First Amendment to the Constitution specifically protects free speech and our lawmakers should embrace that as sacrosanct, just as we expect them to on the Second Amendment.

Surrendering freedoms to a few corporations to arbitrate isn’t just dangerous for the firearm industry. It erodes all of our rights as well as this nation we all dearly love.


About The National Shooting Sports Foundation

NSSF is the trade association for the firearm industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearm retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations, and publishers nationwide. For more information, visit nssf.org

National Shooting Sports Foundation

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Cruiser
Cruiser (@cop1771)
10 months ago

I remember Nikita Khrushchev saying “We will bury you.” With the help of the Democrats, it is happening now. Communism is here, but most can’t see it.

Last edited 10 months ago by Cruiser
gunnerdd517
gunnerdd517 (@gunnerdd517)
10 months ago

what we are seeing is the institution of Communism, by Communists. they have been building the ground work for a long time. piece by piece, issue by issue,crisis by crisis. people become complacent,demoralized. in the early stages, no one would listen, could see it or would even look. let alone define it. Well, here it is, in our faces. Obama(if thats his name) purged the military, Biden has begun his purge of the Natl. Guard. Whats next? soon it will be mandatory vaccine shots&a shot card to buy,sell,travel,how about a loyalty pledge in order to hold a job? Own a… Read more »

RJL
RJL (@robert-j-lucas)
10 months ago

Time to obtain a Ham License, and screw social media platforms.
Back to the old ways…

Whatzit
Whatzit (@lee-wentzsquarerootsmi-com)
10 months ago
Reply to  RJL

@RJL – Not sure that idea will work. Just read an article by an old ham operator who told of just receiving a letter from the FCC warning all hams that they are being watched, and if they use their radios to support illegal activities (such as supporting Trump – yes, it said “Trump” explicitly) they would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The left has anticipated this move.

gunnerdd517
gunnerdd517 (@gunnerdd517)
10 months ago
Reply to  Whatzit

far as i know,they haven`t threatened Short Wave radio……..yet

JDC
JDC (@navyair)
10 months ago

Look, the firearms community has the technology. There is no reason the NSSF or NRA can’t invest in a server farm with Parler or some other free speech platform to host the various websites promoting the industry.

It may be easier to outsource web services, but as this has proved, if the leftists own the service, they will deny you that service at some point.

musicman44mag
musicman44mag (@xman)
10 months ago

Yea, I have been saying that republicans need to have their own businesses and every good constitutionalist needs to support them. Republican web site like Parler. Im not on fakebook or tweaker but I am going to join Parler. Republican grocery, republican gas, republican everything so that way we don’t feed the beast. Drop your local demonrat news paper and buy Epoch times, don’t watch Fox and other fake news especially when they do the inaguration. I read that Amazon and twitter has lost 55 billion dollars since they pulled Parler. Hit them where it counts. They think with their… Read more »

Cruiser
Cruiser (@cop1771)
10 months ago
Reply to  musicman44mag

Dropped Amazon the day they dropped Parler. I dropped Netflix when they appointed Susan Rice to their board of directors.
I just heard Kohl’s and Bed Bath and Beyond dropped the “My Pillow Guy.”
Guess I’ll be shopping somewhere else.
Welcome to Communism.

Rebel VA
Rebel VA (@frank)
10 months ago
Reply to  Cruiser

Reading material for millenials, socialists, commies, and just plain fools: By George Orwell: 1984 (Nineteen eighty four)
Animal Farm

By Ray Bradberry: Farenheit 451

By Ayn Rand: Atlas Shrugged

Also as movies on Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Rebel VA
Rebel VA (@frank)
10 months ago
Reply to  Cruiser

I’m sure that there is a bunch of leftist commie dips#!ts monitoring this site. I have a suggestion for you. Good reading material for you to read or watch on TV.
by George Orwell: Animal Farm
1984 (Nineteen eighty four)
Ray Bradbury: Farenheit 451
Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged

Deplorable Bill
Deplorable Bill (@deplorable-bill)
10 months ago

Where does all this lead to? Look at the history of the last century. Lennon, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, Chavez, Maduro, obama ALL censored news wither the evening news, radio. Look what is going on now. This is the mark up for a war against the American citizen. Propaganda, the availability of ammo, the china virus, no jobs for many. This is forced socialism. This will not end well. When the American citizens figure it out there will be few options. This is very likely to get bloody. If this were 1775 the balls would already be flying. The corrupt… Read more »

Whatzit
Whatzit (@lee-wentzsquarerootsmi-com)
10 months ago

Bill – I think you are right. I feel like a cow being herded down the chute to the slaughterhouse.