Before touching on a topic this, well, touchy, it is worth repeating that Twitter is a private company. It is not a government entity. Your First Amendment right to free speech does not restrict Twitter from taking down a post or blocking someone from using its platform. The First Amendment right to free speech, like most of our civil rights, is a restriction on government, not on private companies.
That said, it is also important for us to use our First Amendment-protected right to speak to defend our Second Amendment right to bear arms. If Twitter is playing politics by blocking some voices for political reasons while promoting others—as many conservatives are accusing them of this—then it is fair and even important for us to journalistically call them out if we have specific examples.
In this case John Lott, president of the Crime Prevention Research Center and the author of More Guns, Less Crime, among other books, just had his account blocked by Twitter for sending the tweet: “New Zealand’s killer’s manifesto says that he did attack to get more gun control/gun bans in New Zealand and the US, Killer was a socialist, environmentalist who hated capitalists and trade.” Lott then put a link in to send people to a story on his website that explained, with more links, that his tweet is accurate.
Twitter then blocked Lott’s account, but neglected to tell him why. Twitter did send him a note saying his account was blocked and that it “violated the Twitter Rules, Specifically for:” but then it didn’t list anything after the colon.
Lott appealed and asked for more information. He received another reply saying he lost his appeal, but again didn’t answer why.
“Truth I suppose, is no defense,” says Lott. “I can and have proven that my tweet is factually accurate.”
To get his account back—and to reach the 28,000 followers he has—he was told he’d have to log into his account and follow instructions that he supposes would include deleting the offending tweet. He’d then have to, going forward, refrain from say, tweeting politically incorrect facts? It is hard to say as Twitter has yet to give specifics.
Again, Twitter has the right to do this. The thing is, when they do speak publicly before Congress and in other venues, Twitter has denied playing politics like this. Blocking Lott for this tweet, however, appears to be politically motivated. Unless Twitter wants to give people this impression, they should give a better explanation or perhaps admit that someone there (maybe their algorithm?) was too quick on the censorship trigger.
We will have a lot more on this topic in upcoming issues of America’s 1st Freedom magazine and right here on our website, as this is growing into an important issue for gun owners.
Most-Revealing Anti-Freedom Quote of the Week
“Last thing, we should have smart guns. No gun should be able to be sold unless your biometric measure can pull that trigger. It’s within our right to do that, we can do that, our enemy is the gun manufacturers, not the NRA.” –Presidential candidate Joe Biden (D) said this at the Democrat’s first debate. Biden seems to be aware that if “smart-gun” technology can be made mandatory it then becomes a de facto national gun ban on all working guns now being sold.
Pro-Freedom Quote of the Week
“Quite frankly, we need to take a little bit deeper look at these issues and actually do something rather than stage manage a vote in which we’re just trying to embarrass each other.” –Virginia State Sen. Mark Obenshain said this after state legislators declined to vote on a slew of gun-control bills in a special session called by Virginia’s Gov. Ralph Northam (D). Instead, the Republican-led legislatures referred all of the gun-control bills submitted to the bipartisan Virginia State Crime Commission for further study.