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Net Neutrality Effect On The Gun Industry

Unless Congress takes action, the Federal Communications Commission will hold a vote on Thursday to eliminate net neutrality rules, which activists say could negatively effect online speech and commerce.

Although a host of hypothetical scenarios can describe the potential impact repealing net neutrality could have on the Internet as we know it, Ryan Singel, a media and strategy fellow at Stanford Law, made the case for why the gun industry and activists should be concerned.

He said his main concern is that repealing the federal rules would allow Internet service providers to limit the reach of or even block content creators — websites like or The Firearm Blog, for example. He argued the rules protect the spirit of the Internet because no matter which ISP is used, the user has access to the whole world wide web.

“The current rules protect ISPs from government pressure,” he said, adding that if they’re repealed “I think pretty quickly we’re going to see people figuring out, on both sides of or all across the ideological spectrum, that they could do to their opponents what they’ve done on Twitter and Facebook, which is figure out what the rules are and then get people blocked.”

He said the impact could be greater on those who express opinions that are unpopular or outside of the mainstream. Although social media giant Facebook has already placed restrictions on gun sales, for example, due to public outcry, other websites that host them were still accessible. But if the FCC repeals net neutrality, an ISP could decide to block those sites for similar reasons.

Singel argued repealing net neutrality could also lead to programs similar to Operation Choke Point, a Justice Department initiative that pressured banks to choke off relationships with gun and ammo sellers, payday lenders and other businesses deemed “high risk” for fraud. Pro-gun organizations raised concerns about the initiative and even lobbied Congress to pass legislation to protect firearm businesses from unfair treatment by financial institutions. reached out to gun industry trade and political organizations about net neutrality, but they did not respond to requests for comment.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai, appointed to the committee by President Obama in 2012, has taken a largely libertarian attitude toward regulating the Internet, arguing rolling back the 2015 regulations would allow for more competition and in turn lead to economic growth. In a factsheet released last month, Pai addressed concerns that the repeal would allow for ISPs to block websites, saying they “didn’t block websites before the Obama Administration’s heavy-handed 2015 Internet regulations and won’t after they are repealed.” The basis for his argument, according to the factsheet, is that ISPs would have to disclose such a move, would face a public backlash and invite scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission for unfair practices.

Yet, Pai’s argument falls flat to net neutrality supporters like Singel, who say there need to be rules that explicitly prevent ISPs from blocking content creators because otherwise attempts could still be made and perhaps stick. Singel said ISPs are in incredibly powerful positions because there are so few of them and they operate with little to no competition in most areas, so people may only have one option when it comes to providers. “I think (the argument) just misses the fact that these guys are in such a position of power that commonsense rules that just don’t allow blocking make sense,” he said.

Singel argued that if it were cheaper and easier to start an ISP, there would be more competition and suggested net neutrality might be a different conversation, but that’s not the reality of it. “We have this incredibly great, free market that’s riding on top of a really broken market,” he said.

“I totally get (the argument) to keep the government out of the Internet and I agree with that, but what I also want is to make sure that we don’t allow entrenched companies that can defend their markets without competition from infringing on Americans’ rights to exercise their free speech and to engage in commerce,” he added.

More than two dozen Democrat and Independent senators and a bipartisan group of Congressmen have sent letters asking the FCC to delay its vote until they can understand and verify the 22 million comments submitted during a public commenting period last summer and hold hearings to better understand of the issue.



  • carltolliver

    let me get this straight you want the feds to control the internet to safegaurd are right to bear arms because evil isps will stop start ups.2 points first evil isps make money from start ups thats how an economy works secondly if monopolies are so terrible why do you want the worlds largest monopoly in the world in charge$


  • messup

    “A level set of rules, regulations, policies and procedures for a level set of providers and users” sounds like a “collective.” A Market Economy is most efficient, as was the first network UNIVAC for higher education. “Net Neutrality” grew out of several meetings of Data Providers and President Obama…who cobbled out this abomination called: Net Neutrality. From this conference b/t Executive Branch of Government and Data Providers, innovative, smaller up-starts have been SNUFFED out while the behemoths (Google, Amazon, et al) have exploded, controlled ALL Media and censored ALL Speech (ex: FaceBook and “Russian political ADS”). “Net Neutrality” created Data Provider Frankensteins. Pray. Amen. God Bless America and ALL Americans. Read A Bible. NKJV Psalm 128. Net Neutrality stopped innovation while promoting CONSOLIDATION.


  • A_patriot

    Was this going on prior to the FCC changes in 2015? I think not. This is leftist propaganda dressed up to look like conservative speak. They will stop at NOTHING to ensure that Big Government has its tentacles deep into our personal lives. This just hurts them all over the place. Once again Free Market reigns.


  • Patrick T. Peterson

    This unsigned article about the “benefits” of the Obama admin’s regulations on “net neutrality” came as a surprize. But I guess it means I should not have assumed a 2nd Amendment organization would get this tech issue correct. Needless to say, I am not passing this article on as well informed. Rather I will hold it up as an example of the opposite, one that fell for the statist propaganda that government regulation makes all things wise and wonderful.


  • Oingo Boingo

    Comcast is a monopoly on Commie Prince Obongo’s fave Summer place, Martha’s Vineyard.
    Comcast on M.V. ALREADY blocks web traffic inconsistent with it’s Talmudic nation wrecking beliefs.
    (((Big Media))) Khazar scum are well entrenched and smeared on the Internet and Web.
    Moon Face Marky Faceberg, that intends to contest Trump for Da Preznitsy, is a prime example of Rats In Media.
    The scum that run Gewgele and YewTewb are others.


  • Patrick T. Peterson

    For good background on “Net Neutrality” here is an excellent interview with someone that knows the FCC in and out and was chief economist there about 25 years ago:


  • nomopc

    Net Neutrality gives government the ability to protect WE THE HELPLESS SHEEP from whatever Government deems dangerous. GUNS would be NUMBER 1 on that list. So Get Rid of Net Neutrality FAST! Get government out of it!


  • larrup

    This is a solution searching for a problem. You don’t want the government controlling content on the internet other than to shut down Radical Muslim sites like ISIS. The AG can deal with this just threaten
    them with a lawsuit if they don’t stop the propaganda of unamerican jihadists from being sent and received. Obummer wanted to shut down conservative speech. After all they already have the alphabet media lapdogs cheering for them. Then they have their high brow partially taxpayer funded left leaning NPR, Radio and the internet are the only conservative outlets other than Fox and you notice the Media Matters George Soros thugs are constantly attacking them.


  • D L

    Obama is for it > Enough said.


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