Google Should Have Googled It First: New ‘Dangerous Products or Services’ Ad Policy Targets Protected Speech, Self-Defense

Google Should Have Googled It First

New ‘Dangerous Products or Services’ Ad Policy Targets Protected Speech, Self-Defense

Apparently, Google failed to use its own search engine product before announcing their new “Dangerous Products or Services” policy, which is slated to go into effect “around September [of 2014].”

Under the policy’s “Guns and Parts” guidelines, ads that are or “appear to be” promoting “[f]unctional devices that appear to discharge a projectile at high velocity, whether for sport, self-defense, or combat” would be banned. The consequence for showing-off your Constitutionally-protected goods? “Disapproval and [account] suspension.”

But, unfortunately, it gets worse. Not only is the Google ban-hammer going to be swung at [actual] firearms and firearm parts (including “[a]ny part or component that’s necessary to the function of a gun or intended for attachment to a gun” such as–but presumably not limited to–“[g]un scopes, ammunition, ammunition clips or belts”), it’s also a Google no-no to advertise training aides like “airsoft guns, paintball guns,” and yes, even the dreaded favorite of hardened criminals, “bb guns.” One wonders if Google’s policy-maker watched ‘A Christmas Story‘ one too many times as a kid.

But Google’s policy isn’t entirely devoid of humor. They’re also going to ban–gasp–“dangerous knives” that “are designed or promoted as products that can be used to injure an opponent in sport, self-defense, or combat,” as well as [a]ny knife design that provides a confrontational advantage.” Shoot (pun intended), I feel safer already.

In January of 2013, President Obama “directed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with other relevant federal agencies, to immediately begin identifying the most pressing firearm-related violence research problems.” On June 5, 2013, the CDC published a stunning report entitled “Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence.” In that report was a rather honest assessment of Defensive Gun Use (DGU):

“Defensive use of guns by crime victims is a common occurrence, although the exact number remains disputed (Cook and Ludwig, 1996; Kleck, 2001a). Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million (Kleck, 2001a), in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008 (BJS, 2010).”

It’s difficult to imagine how the same company that fights for First Amendment rights (as well as Fourth Amendment rights, and privacy, though with significant caveats) in spite of real social costs would not expect cultural blowback for introducing a callous policy that ignores the social benefits of lawful firearm ownership and use. You know, those things protected by the Constitution’s Second Amendment. (Here, let me Google that for you, Google.)

Perhaps it’s time for internet giants, like Google, to take some Second Amendment sensitivity training.

H/T to AWR Hawkins and Breitbart for the pointer.

Brandon Combs is the Managing Director of the Firearms Policy Coalition, Executive Director and Secretary of the Calguns Foundation, President of California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees, and a proud law-abiding gun owner. When he’s not working to advance Constitutional rights and individual liberty causes, he enjoys spending time with his Akita, Holly, and traveling.