UK Police Shut Down Popular Gun Channel on YouTube, Branding it a 'Forum of Extremism'
On Sunday, YouTuber Callum Long-Collins announced he would be effectively shutting down the channel EnglishShooting, a YouTube channel that racked up more than 15,000 subscribers and more than 12 million views in the past four years. Long-Collins said the police had marked his YouTube channel as a "forum of extremism," and that he had to "show the police that I am a fit character to own firearms within the U.K."
"I was told that due to repeated comments from other people on the videos [police] felt that the channel was a forum of extremism and it was promoting views that were not in line with legal firearms ownership within the U.K.," Long-Collins said in a YouTube video announcing "The End of EnglishShooting."
The trouble began two years ago, when his licenses were revoked following a false accusation. His licenses were restored, but police found previous videos on his channel that they considered suspect.
"Over the past two years, I’ve made significant efforts to change the direction of the channel, change the videos, and to change my own beliefs and views around firearms and firearm ownership," the YouTuber said (emphasis added). "Unfortunately, I’ve failed to bring the channel and the videos to the standard that the police feel is adequate and I only have myself to blame for this."
Throughout the video, Long-Collins sounded as though he had been forced through an Orwellian re-education. He admitted that the errors were his alone, even though it seemed police had the biggest problem with commenters on his YouTube channel, rather than his own comments and videos. He even admitted that he has attempted to change his own beliefs in order to combat the government revoking his firearms licenses.
The authorities "were very clear that there was a high likelihood that my applications would be rejected so I made the decision to remove them voluntarily," the YouTuber said. "My focus now is purely to keep my head down and to show the police that I am a fit character to own firearms within the U.K."
Unfortunately, he admitted, "No matter how hard I try I believe that the channel will always have a tainted image to the police and I don't think that's something that I am going to get away from easily. I need to be a bit selfish and give myself the best chance of moving forward with my own shooting career."
Long-Collins announced that he had already started removing videos in an effort to condense the YouTube channel into "a series of highlights."
He reiterated, "I've got no one else to blame but myself," and committed himself to "take on board what the police have said and move forward in a much more positive manner."
Many European countries have outlawed "hate speech," and Britain considered a law that would have penalized people for viewing "far-right propaganda," comparing it to jihadi websites and bomb-making instructions. In 2014, an election candidate was arrested for reading Winston Churchill's remarks about Islam in public.
In similar news, YouTube terminated the channel of firearms parts manufacturer Brownells, Inc., suddenly and without warning. The conservative video nonprofit PragerU has sued YouTube, alleging clear viewpoint discrimination in marking their videos "restricted" because of conservative content. Various firearms channels have left YouTube for PornHub, even though they have no sexual content, in order to avoid YouTube's censorship.
At least in these cases, it is YouTube, a private company, that restricted speech. In Long-Collins' case, the British government is targeting his speech. PJ Media reached out to the YouTuber to hear exactly what errors he made. This story will be updated if he responds.
As The Liberty Conservative's Eduardo Rivera noted, "A review of Long-Collins’ channel indicates that the overwhelming majority of the content on the channel was technical and safety information on various firearms that he either owned or had experience with. The channel features no overtly political content, nor are any political views expressed, other than a general skepticism towards the further strengthening of Britain’s already strict gun laws."
London has also launched a "knife control" campaign, with Mayor Sadiq Khan declaring, "There is never a reason to carry a knife." Unless Long-Collins explains how his channel was used for truly extreme and borderline terroristic purposes, it seems British police have taken this general movement against armed civilians in an extreme direction themselves.
Watch the video below.