Online gun seller K-Var spread the news on their blog, claiming NASCAR told them 'No' on certain gun ads.
It would appear the ongoing gun rights conversation has made its way to professional sports, as reports from online gun and shooting supply seller K-Var Corporation say the stock car racing entity is experiencing "a gradual shift in [their] position on guns."
The Armory, K-Var's online blog, shared the news, quoting National Event Publications in response to their ad buy attempt for the official advertising book to cover the final 26 races of the NASCAR season.
We just heard from NASCAR on a number of gun related ads and unfortunately, due 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.
The magazine publisher responded back in August to say the ad purchase had been denied.
David Dolbee of K-Var Corp. wrote the initial blog post and responded:
Did you know NASCAR was going through a "gradual shift on guns?" What does that even mean? NASCAR has allowed ads from firearms manufacturers for several years. AK-47s, AR-15s, and scoped rifles have all been featured in the past, so I guess, by that statement, it can only mean that NASCAR is marching toward a complete anti-gun stance--it is just slow rolling it for some reason.
K-Var sells all types of firearms, ammunition, magazines, and suppressors, as well as MSR and AK parts.
NASCAR has significant business relationships with outdoor (and therefore gun-related) companies, most namely Gander Outdoors, the official sponsor of the NASCAR Truck Series. The annual night race at the Bristol Motor Speedway has been co-sponsored by Bass Pro Shops and the National Rifle Association since 2016. Richard Childress (who's a NASCAR team owner and recently resigned from his role as NRA 2nd vice president) had this to say when that sponsorship announcement was made:
"Racing fans and NRA members treasure their freedom and outdoor heritage, and the Night Race is where we go to celebrate that love of freedom, love of the shooting sports, and love of the great outdoors," said Childress. "It's an electrifying race and an exciting way to celebrate the American values we share and the legacy we preserve for young sportsmen and hunters all across this great nation."
Here's more from the announcement, from Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager for Bristol Motor Speedway.
"The iconic nature of The Night Race and the natural beauty of our region create the perfect opportunity to highlight conservation on a national stage," said Caldwell. "Hunters and sporting enthusiasts attend NASCAR races in droves. We share the same customers and that makes this a well-suited partnership."
Those lines were from three years ago. Now, it seems like some opinions at NASCAR are changing, right along with race attendance numbers. Though NASCAR and its tracks do not release attendance figures, notably empty stadiums have plagued the sport for years, likely starting with the 2008 economic collapse.
The "gradual shift" is almost certainly referencing the change in gun rights and advocacy perspective since the most recent mass shootings in the United States, giving so-called "black rifles" a bad reputation.
Where does this leave the members of the NASCAR and racing families that hold high regard for their Second Amendment rights, are avid hunters and outdoorsmen, and may not see eye to eye with those in charge of making these business decisions?
We'll stand by ready to report more on the story when it happens.