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NASCAR declines gun ads citing 'gradual shift' on their stance


'AK-47s, AR-15s, and scoped rifles have all been featured in the past'

Claus Andersen/Getty Images

NASCAR has reportedly changed its policy on allowing certain gun advertising due to a "gradual shift" in its position, according to the organization's web sales agency.

What are the details?

Shooting sports supplier K-VAR wrote on its blog last week:

In March and April 2019, several firearms retailers and manufacturers were contacted by National Event Publications, Official media sales agent for the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, NASCAR, PGA, NHRA, & USA Today Lifestyle. The pitch was to buy advertising in the official program for the last 26 races of the season. K-Var opted to advertise, as did at least 16 other manufacturers or retailers including CZ-USA, Beretta, Daniel Defense, and others. The deadline to have our artwork submitted for approval was April 19, 2019.
Then, on August 19, 2019 (four months later) we were contacted by National Event Publications with the following message.

We just heard from NASCAR on a number of gun related ads and unfortunately, due 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.

K-VAR noted that "AK-47s, AR-15s, and scoped rifles have all been featured in the past."

Pro-Second Amendment site Bearing Arms reported on K-VAR's blog post and cautioned against a NASCAR boycott but pointed out, "Historically, NASCAR has come across pretty pro-gun. There are races co-sponsored by companies like Bass Pro Shops and the NRA, there's the truck series sponsored by Gander Outdoor, and gun companies have been able to advertise with the sport for several years prior to this. So what's going on?"

Manufacturer and retailer of firearms, ammunition, parts and accessories Dark Storm Industries was also hit by the NASCAR "shift." On its Instagram account, the company told its story, saying:

NASCAR decided to turn their back on their customer base, joining the likes of Yeti, Dick's and Under Armour. We were approached by a NASCAR publication eager to earn our business, but after submitting our ad it was immediately rejected, stating that we cannot depict "assault weapons"... whatever those are.

We resubmitted the ad after adding a large 'CENSORED' bar over the rifle, with a tag reading "This publication rejected our ad". This too was rejected by NASCAR. They said they did not like that we called them out. We resubmitted a third time, with a tag line reading "Visit www.Dark-Storm.com to find out why!".

This was again rejected. They did not like the words "FIND OUT WHY". As we have learned, NASCAR has made a "gradual shift" but this doesn't seem very gradual to us. It seems as though NASCAR has turned their back on the overwhelming majority of their fan base in the most embarrassing way possible.

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