NASCAR rejected advertising for souvenir programs from several firearms companies earlier this summer as part of what is seen as a "gradual shift" in its position on guns.
The relocation may be another example of how large companies are Adjusting when the Nation fights with guns in America.
While the speed did not receive widespread notice, NASCAR's seemingly shifting stunned gun enthusiasts said that there is a large overlap between NASCAR fans and gun owners, leaving some in the firearms industry questioning why NASCAR's point of view has changed and where the racing organization is now in questions about other changes.
“They've got the drivers shooting distance in the winning circuit. It makes no sense, "says David Dolbee, general manager of K-Var Corp., a major firearms distributor, who submitted an ad that was rejected with the AK-47 and various accessories.
After a third-party advertising provider sought ads for an official NASCAR program earlier this year, the provider followed up with gun companies in August to inform them that NASCAR had rejected ads depicting "assault rifles / sniper rifles."
National Event Publications, emailed some gun companies saying, "We just heard from NASCAR about a number of gun-related ads, and unfortunately, due to a gradual change in NASCAR's position on guns, these ads must edited / modified ̵[ads1]1; especially those depicted as assault style / rifle rifles. NASCAR is still open to some of the less controversial weapon accessories, concealed carry or classes. "
The news of these refusals was first reported by Washington Free Beacon.
NASCAR's response via a vendor came as a shock to those in the firearms industry.
"This is a huge mistake. Don't they understand their own base?" Said Dolbee. "They are a sporting organization trying to take sides in a political matter. . It's never going well for any company. "
NASCAR's position" seems like a pretty quick and dramatic shift for me, "said Ed Newman, one of the founders of New York firearms manufacturer, Dark Storm Industries LLC.
Newman said his company posted an ad that also was rejected by NASCAR. The company posted the rejection on its Instagram account. "We have seen a significant response on social media as the majority of NASCAR fans expressed that they were not misunderstood by this political shift," Newman said via e-mail.
So far, NASCAR has been reluctant to explain its changing view of the gun industry, with companies such as Gander Outdoors and Bass Pro Shops selling guns, as well as Henry Repeating Arms, a gun manufacturer.
NASCAR did not respond to several requests for comment on this story.
NASCAR's apparent shift comes as other US companies have begun to reassess their relationship with the weapons industry.
Walmart announced t earlier this month that it would cut arms and ammunition sales, a month after more than 20 people were killed in a mass shooting in an El Paso, Texas, Walmart. Dick's Sporting Goods stopped selling semi-automatic rifles and high capacity magazines after a mass shooting in Parkland, Florida. Earlier this year, it announced that it had stopped selling weapons and ammunition in 125 of the stores where sales have been lagging.
In a show of power on Thursday, 145 business leaders wrote a letter to Congress demanding action against firearms.
Lawrence Keane, senior vice president of Government and Public Affairs at the National Shooting Sports Foundation, first expressed frustration at NASCAR's apparent shift.
"I don't know what they hope to achieve by refusing advertising for a legitimate product that their fans are interested in buying," Keane said. "If this is an attempt at virtue signaling, they didn't blink."
But on Friday, he said the trade group has started a "respectful and productive" dialogue with NASCAR to find out what's going on.
The National Rifle Association's lobbying business, meanwhile, made its discontent clear in an online post.
"It is not clear whether NASCAR is now taking an official position in opposition to semi-automatic rifles – with AR-15 variants often referred to as America's Rifle – and bolt action rifles," according to the NRA post. " What seems clear, however, is that NASCAR does not want to see such things announced in the official publication in the future: a decision that can easily alienate many of its most avid fans. "