When private companies start taking political stances, the results are rarely good for anyone involved. Now, by refusing to air any more advertisements for certain firearms, NASCAR may have become the latest organization to alienate a large swath of their fanbase.
NASCAR’s advertising vendor, National Event Publications, sent out an email to gun companies explaining NASCAR was introducing new advertising guidelines. The email read, “We 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.”
From a business perspective, it makes zero sense for NASCAR to take a political stance against firearms. The overlap between fans of NASCAR and fans of the Second Amendment is well over 50%. Even if just half of NASCAR fans end up taking issues with the organization’s decision to discontinue many firearm and firearm-related advertisements then it will still amount to a horrible business decision on NASCAR’s part.
While news of NASCAR’s decision to ban certain gun advertisements hasn’t gained enough widespread attention yet to really know how the organization’s fanbase will respond, some of NASCAR’s advertisers are already making their displeasure known. David Dolbee, the general manager for K-Var Corp – a firearms distributor that recently had one of their advertisements rejected by NASCAR, responded by saying, “They’ve got the drivers shooting off blanks in the winner’s circle. It doesn’t make any sense.”
Dolbee went on to say, “This is a colossal mistake. Do they not understand their own base? They are a sporting organization trying to take sides on a political issue. That never goes well for any company.”
NASCAR’s advertisers weren’t the only ones to take issue with the organization’s new stance on firearm advertisements, though. In an online post, the NRA responded to the decision by saying, “It is not clear if NASCAR is now taking an official position in opposition to semi-automatic rifles —with the AR-15 variants often referred to as America’s Rifle — and bolt action rifles. What does seem clear, however, is that NASCAR doesn’t want to see such things advertised in its official publication in the future: a decision that could easily alienate a great many of its most ardent fans.”
While NASCAR’s decision as a private organization to take a stance on the gun control debate is not in and of itself a direct threat to Second Amendment rights, it does mark another shift in the cultural war that gun rights supporters should find very concerning. Right now, those in favor of increased gun control are starting to win the war of public perception.
NASCAR certainly isn’t the first company in recent months to take an anti-gun stance, and the number of companies now siding with the gun control movement is evidence that the movement’s public pressure campaign against these companies is working.
If they can convince NASCAR, after all – a company that caters to a pro-Second Amendment, suburban fanbase – then there’s no telling what company they might be able to convince next to join the anti-gun movement.