On Monday, ABC reported that Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA) has dropped all gun-related commercials on its extensive media networks which include holdings in television, cable, Internet, radio, and voice services. A Michigan gun shop confirmed that weapons-related businesses such as manufacturers, distributors, and firearms shops will no longer be able to advertise their products on Comcast's empire, affiliates, and subsidiaries.
The Philadelphia-based company is among the biggest media corporations in the world with annual revenues exceeding $55 billion. Last week, it announced intentions to acquire NBC Universal from GE in a deal valued at $16.7 billion. NBC has not shown weapons-related commercials on its network, according to ABC's report.
Starting in February 2012, Comcast will pull all gun shop advertisements beginning with its cable network. However, the move has come element of secrecy as the company never announced the rollback on its corporate website. The company did issue a statement to ABC's Michigan affiliate saying, "Consistent with long standing NBC policies, Comcast Spotlight has decided it will not accept new advertising for firearms or weapons moving forward. This policy aligns us with the guidelines in place at many media organizations."
The move could spark multi-million dollar lawsuits in multiple states from class-action lawyers. One argument could be that denial of ad placement will cost the weapons industry billions of dollars in revenue.
Additionally, Comcast's move could be seen as infringing on free speech protections from the First Amendment, and citizens' rights to bear arms as stipulated in the Second Amendment of the U.S. constitution. Monday's actions could also initiate a larger response from the media industry as other giants such as Time Warner could follow suit.
Williams Gun Sight, a company that specialized in targeting products based out of Michigan, said that it was denied ad placement. Owner Tom Wright said "I thought it was ridiculous, we are a legitimate business, we have been here for 80 years . . . There's no reason why we can't promote what we believe in and something that's guaranteed under the Second Amendment."
Andrea Olson, a media buyer for the local ad agency who acted on behalf of Williams Gun Sight, expressed disappointment in Comcast's decision. "[The owner] thinks this is a direct infringement on our constitutional rights and links it to gun control, and he's a member of the NRA and passionate about the issue," she said.
Last week, it was discovered that the Obama administration has been pressuring major financial institutions to stop extending letters of credit to gun companies. A Bank of America spokesman admitted that the move was "politically motivated".
Earlier this month, the head of the National Rifle Association predicted that President Barack Obama's gun control measures won't pass congress. "I tell you what these things are. These are all feel-good proposals, because at the end of the day, what do they do to prevent a mass shooter?" said David Keene, the NRA's president.
Here are related articles on gun control:
- Obama pressures banks to stop doing business with gun companies
- Super Bowl fans undergo TSA pat-downs
- 1996: Obama supported banning all guns
- Obama's gun ban proposal: 23 ways to limit firearms
- Wyoming opposes federal gun ban
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