NASCAR Drives NRA Round The Bend By Banning Ads for AR-15s

September 20th 2019

nascar ( Roger Blake )

nascar (Roger Blake)

By Bill Berkowitz

Rarely a day passes without news of the powerful and perverse reality the National Rifle Association plays in our lives. In early September, the city of San Francisco’s board of supervisors branded the NRA a terrorist organization, and moved to limit relationships with companies that do business with it. A few days later, the NRA responded by suing the city for violating its First Amendment speech rights. The NRA called the post-El Paso, Texas, massacre decision by Walmart to discontinue sales of ammunition and discourage open-carry customers from entering its stores, “shameful [for Walmart to] succumb to the pressure of the anti-gun elites.” The Intercept recently reported that since the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, the NRA has doubled its Facebook ad spending. For a three-week period stretching from August 4 to August 25, the NRA spent $360,000 on Facebook, or around $16,500 per day, according to the Intercept. And now, the NRA has a beef with NASCAR over its decision to refuse ads in its souvenir programs for assault-style rifles and some other firearms. 

A late -August post at the NRA-ILA (Institute for Legislative Action) website titled “NASCAR Takes a Hard Left,” features a bumper-sticker-like graphic that reads “NASCAR Goes Anti-Gun. The story leads: “After decades of NASCAR drivers literally turning left for hours every race day (road course races excluded, of course), the governing body appears to be taking a figurative left turn, politically.”

“NASCAR rejected advertisements for its souvenir programs from multiple firearms companies earlier this summer as part of what is being seen as a ‘gradual shift’ in its position on guns.,” CNN’s Sara Murray reported in mid-September.

"It is not clear if NASCAR is now taking an official position in opposition to semi-automatic rifles —with the AR-15 variants often referred to as America's Rifle — and bolt action rifles," according to the NRA post. "What does seem clear, however, is that NASCAR doesn't want to see such things advertised in its official publication in the future: a decision that could easily alienate a great many of its most ardent fans."