ghost guns

YouTube Banned ‘Ghost Gun' Assembly Videos, Yet Many Are Still Up

Three years after YouTube prohibited “ghost gun” assembly videos, the site still hosts dozens of the videos, totaling several million views

Sgt. Matthew Elseth with "ghost guns" on display at the headquarters of the San Francisco Police Department
AP Photo/Haven Daley

More than three years after YouTube tightened its gun content restrictions, an NBC News review found dozens of videos, with more than 4.6 million combined views, showing how to assemble “ghost guns,” which remain largely unregulated in most states and are nearly impossible to trace because they lack serial numbers.

The internet has made the proliferation of homemade weapons a vexing problem for law enforcement officials across the country, who have linked them to mass shootingsattacks on police and drug and gang killings in recent years.

NBC News sent links to six of the "ghost gun" videos — which combined to account for more than 1.2 million hits — to YouTube’s parent company, Google, seeking comment on how it enforces its firearms policy. YouTube removed the videos within hours and said users have to comply with guidelines prohibiting videos that show how to make firearms.

But dozens of similar videos remain on the site — some on the same channels as the ones YouTube took down. The videos were posted from 2013 to 2021, and they have drawn more than 1,000 views to more than half a million.

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