NASCAR has begun rejecting gun industry ads depicting “assault-style rifles” and some other firearms, a national online firearms seller said in criticizing the move.
“Is NASCAR anti-gun now?” officials with K-Var Corp. asked in a recent blog that broke the news of the NASCAR ad ban.
K-Var officials said they and other firearms retailers and manufacturers learned of the ban in mid-August from their media sales agent, National Event Publications.
In an Aug. 19 message to K-Var and other gun industry clients, the media sales agent said it had “just heard from NASCAR on a number of gun related ads and unfortunately, due to a gradual shift in NASCAR’s position on guns, these ads must be edited/changed — especially those that are depicted as assault-style rifles/sniper rifles.
“NASCAR is still open to some of the less controversial gun accessories, concealed carry, or classes,” according to the National Event Publications message, which K-Var posted in its blog.
“What does that even mean?” K-Var asked of the phrase “gradual shift on guns.” “Do they have any clue who their base audience is? Do they not know the ramifications, the fervent uproar and boycotts the pro Second Amendment supporters have waged against the likes of Dick’s Sporting Goods or Yeti Coolers?”
On Feb. 28, 2018, Dick’s Sporting Goods announced that it would no longer sell assault-style firearms and high-capacity magazines, and would ban the sale of any type of gun to anyone 20 and under, The Washington Post reported.
National Rifle Association supporters urged a boycott of cooler maker Yeti after word the company was cutting ties with the NRA Foundation, USA Today reported in April 2018. Yeti disputed the claim, saying it ended various outdated discount programs in which the foundation participated, the newspaper reported.
A NASCAR spokesman did not respond to two phone messages from The Charlotte Observer on Saturday about the ban.
In its blog, K-Var said it joined CZ-USA, Beretta, Daniel Defense and 13 other gun retailers and manufacturers in agreeing to advertise in the official programs of the last 26 races of the NASCAR season.
Then came the August message from NASCAR to National Event Publications that NASCAR would limit the types of firearms that could be shown in the ads, according to the K-Var blog. National Event Publications then notified the gun manufacturers and retailers that had agreed to buy ads.
“NASCAR has allowed ads from firearms manufacturers for several years,” according to the writer of the K-Var blog. “AK-47s, AR-15s, and scoped rifles have all been featured in the past, so I guess, by that statement, it can only mean that NASCAR is marching toward a complete anti-gun stance — it is just slow rolling it for some reason.”
Asked the K-Var blogger: “Even if your audience was split 50-50 as to the issue of the Second Amendment, why would you intentionally alienate half of your base?”
The sport includes such nationally recognized Second Amendment supporters as longtime team owner and NASCAR Hall of Fame member Richard Childress.
Childress told authorities that when three intruders with military-style weapons tried to break into his home in December 2017, he grabbed his handgun, went downstairs and fired multiple shots at the home invaders, scaring them off, The Charlotte Observer reported at the time.
Social media, however, seemed split in its reaction to NASCAR banning some gun ads.
“This is embarrassing as a fan of the sport,” a man posted.
“I will no longer watch Nascar,” another vowed.
Others strongly supported the move.
“You have earned my deepest respect,” a man posted, telling NASCAR its move “took a lot of guts” given potential backlash from some fans. “Bravo!”
“I LOVE @NASCAR and my family and I are thrilled to see this,” wrote another man. “GREAT job NASCAR!”
NASCAR has yet to respond to the fury, CNN reported on air Saturday morning and online Friday.