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Cable Technology Feature Article

April 01, 2013

Comcast Refuses Advertising from Gun Stores, Ammunition Manufacturers

By Frank Griffin, TMCnet Contributing Writer

As the largest cable company in the country, Comcast (News - Alert) has market shares in 39 states and the District of Columbia. With the recent purchase of NBC Universal (News - Alert), it now has a national and international reach and the responsibility that goes with it. The acquisition of NBC has meant certain practices that were fine in local cable markets had to be abandoned for the overall image of the company. The tragic shooting in Newton, Connecticut and subsequent killings from gun violence in the U.S. has highlighted the need to implement realistic national gun control measures.

But this subject has very vocal proponents on both sides of the issue, and whenever there’s news of any type of ban on guns or ammunition, the firm makes sure its point of view is heard.

The ban on gun and ammunition advertising is a long-standing policy of NBC Universal, and when the deal was finalized, the policy was extended to assets owned by Comcast. This policy is going to affect many areas in which Comcast is the only affordable outlet for advertising for gun store owners and ammunition manufactures.

While every rational human being detests the end result of gun violence, we must not forget these are legitimate businesses that should have the right to advertise their product. But the same right that gun owners enjoy can also be used by a business to accept or deny services.

"Consistent with long-standing NBC policies, Comcast Spotlight has decided it will not accept new advertising for firearms or weapons moving forward," said spokesman Chris Ellis of Comcast's advertising sales division, Comcast Spotlight.

The vilification of guns in the media might be justified to some, but the vast majority of gun stores around the country are family-owned businesses that support the local economy. More than anyone, they understand the real danger of guns and support the ban on sales of these weapons to anyone not qualified to own one because of a criminal record or mental health issues.

The ban is practiced by other cable companies as well, including Time-Warner, the second-largest cable company in the country, and Cox Communication, which has different levels of restrictions regarding gun-related advertising. Broadcasters such as CBS, Fox and ESPN (News - Alert) also have policies in place with some form of restriction on this type of advertising.

"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. "Advertising has such a huge impact on public opinion, and we're really at a tipping point in the gun violence conversation."

According to the LA Times though, NBC Sports Network accepts commercials for weapons used for hunting, such as rifles and shotguns. Some would argue a weapon is a weapon, and this undoubtedly will be more fodder for the endless debate of guns in America.

Edited by Braden Becker

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