Published in News
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Google has somehow managed to get itself embroiled in a rather controversial debate on gun control in the US.
A month ago, Google Shopping announced it would implement a new policy, whereby it would not promote the sale of weapons or firearm-related accessories as of July 1, AFP reports. Google announced it would not "allow the promotion of weapons or devices designed to cause serious harm or injury" and stated that the ban applies to "guns, gun parts or hardware, ammunition, bombs, knives, throwing stars, and brass knuckles." The move quickly prompted an outcry among gun enthusiasts and all sorts of right-wing conspiracy nuts buffs.
Many bloggers claim Google is interfering with their Second Amendment rights, but they clearly fail to comprehend that Google is a business, not a state entity, and as such it can pretty much do what it wants. The fact that something is legal does not mean Google or any other company has to do it, it just means it can. For example, Apple also does not allow porn on iTunes, although it would be perfectly legal, yet we don’t hear that many free speech advocates complaining. Google search doesn’t come up with porn results, either, and really it shouldn’t.
The National Rifle Association also stepped up to protect the “rights” of its members, by claiming that Google’s new policy is discriminatory.
"This appears to be a calculated political statement by Google at a time when most other large online retailers and search services are increasing the level of information they provide and the number of gun-related products they offer for sale," the NRA said. "Fortunately, with so many other options available to consumers, Google's attempt to limit information about legal and constitutionally protected products will likely prove futile."
Once again the NRA invokes the US Constitution, although it doesn’t seem to quite get it. The fact that a certain right is “constitutionally protected” does not mean that it has to be exercised by everyone, otherwise government could mandate Starbucks to sell assault rifles and that would bring new meaning to free enterprise. Also, militia men preparing for the Rapture would suddenly develop a taste for soy milk lattes.
Of course, conspiracy loving wingnut bloggers were quick to point out that Google’s is one of Obama’s biggest campaign contributors. Google itself and its employees donated $608,000 to Obama’s reelection campaign. However, to put things in perspective, Google Sheldon Adelson or Koch brothers.