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Comcast bans ads for guns, ammo

Shops turning to radio, print

– A decision by Comcast Corp. to ban commercials touting firearms and ammunition has left some Indiana gun store owners searching for new ways to advertise their products.

Rick Oliver, who owns the Lafayette-area gun store Haley’s Lodge, said he’s been told the store’s TV ads will no longer be accepted. Oliver said he’s confused by the ban but plans on shifting his TV advertising budget to radio and print because Comcast is the Lafayette-area’s only local cable provider.

“I’ve been running TV ads for 30 years. But if they don’t want my money, I’ll take it elsewhere,” he told the Journal & Courier for a Friday story.

Oliver also said he’s stopped running TV ads for his second business, Haley’s Lock, Safe & Keys, on principle.

Chris Ellis, a spokesman for Comcast Spotlight – Comcast’s advertising sales division – said the decision to ban such commercials was made earlier this year after Comcast finalized its purchase of NBC Universal.

“Consistent with long-standing NBC policies, Comcast Spotlight has decided it will not accept new advertising for firearms or weapons moving forward,” he said.

Gun control advocates are pleased with Comcast’s decision and hope other influential media businesses will follow suit. Time Warner Cable and Cox Communications already have restrictions on certain types of weapons ads.

“This is a really brave move for Comcast, and I give them a standing ovation,” said Julia Chester, Midwest regional coordinator for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

“Advertising has such a huge impact on public opinion, and we’re really at a tipping point in the gun violence conversation,” she said.

But Greg Hasek, manager at Four Guns in Lafayette, said the ban on gun advertisements is singling out one industry. He noted that there are widespread advertisements for alcohol, which can lead to drunken driving deaths.

“There are so many things that can harm people if they let it,” Hasek said. “Buffets are so unhealthy they can lead to death by obesity complications. Are we going to stop advertising buffets?”

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