When Williams Gun Sight & Outfitters in Davison, Michigan decided to place an ad with Comcast last week, they were abruptly refused. Apparently, the cable network ceased all gun ads after February 8 this year. According to ABC12, this new change in policy is the result of a merger between Comcast and NBC Universal, which would further cement Comcast’s position as the largest cable television company in the United States.
Comcast had originally intended to acquire NBC over a period of several years but opted to instead make the merger immediate, and will be adjusting their advertisement content to match that of NBC’s. The new policy will be in effect throughout Comcast’s reach across 40 states and nearly 22 million subscribers. Local businesses aren’t the only ones hit by this shift in direction, industry stalwarts like Cabela’s will also be affected. CBS Detroit reports that as the major cable provider in over two-thirds of the country, Comcast is in a position to affect every cable channel and network in America.
“Obviously, this is an attempt on the part of Comcast to help promote an anti-gun agenda,” says Williams Gun Sight owner Tom Wright, who had previously aired commercials with the cable giant. The gun shop has reached out to its fans on Facebook following the news and the response has been overwhelmingly supportive.
“Time to send letters to Comcast letting them know how we feel, and how rude it is to pick on a small Ma & Pa shop!” One commenter posted.
Other gun shops are voicing solidarity with the Michigan store by taking to their own social media platforms and asking for a general boycott of the cable network. John Kupiec, president of the Canadian American Corp., an advertising firm that represents both small and large gun shops and industries, is worried that Comcast could set a bad precedent.
“The next step is we want to get the lawmakers on Capitol Hill to review the monopolistic rights this company currently enjoys as the largest cable provider in the United States,” Kupiec said. His firm and others are considering legal action against the cable provider as a measure of last resort.
In a recent statement Comcast defended their stance on gun ads:
Consistent with longstanding 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 new policy was not announced to shops like Williams Gun Sight, which thought their money was still good with the network. Wright says if Comcast won’t take his business, he’ll go elsewhere.
“I thought it was ridiculous,” he said in an interview with ABC12. “We are a legitimate business, we have been here for 80 years.”