Guns make up more than one-fifth of the sales at Just Sports in Cape May County, N.J., but from their commercials, you wouldn’t know they sold guns at all.
Owner Bud Dunham told The Washington Examiner Comcast informed him about a month ago he’d need to remove all references to weapons from his advertising.
Comcast, which has cornered the market on advertising in the New Jersey community, is using the Newtown tragedy to enforce their anti-gun views on advertisers, Dunham said.
“They just didn’t let a disaster go unused,” he said.
Comcast didn’t negotiate with Just Sports either, Dunham said. So he complied with their demand, but snuck a little humor of his own into the next version of their commercial: the store’s “experts” in the ad are named Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson.
Just Sports now has a sign in the window urging customers to switch to a different cable provider. Dunham himself switched providers for phone and television at home and at his store.
“You and I are talking on Verizon today,” he chuckled.
The new advertising policy is due to Comcast’s purchase of NBCUniversal in February, the company says. Comcast’s statement has been the same in every case from Los Angeles to Augusta:
“Consistent with long standing NBC policies, Comcast Spotlight has decided it will not accept new advertising for firearms or weapons moving forward. This policy aligns us with the guidelines in place at many media organizations.”
Dunham said the policy makes him feel like the cable company views him as a criminal for selling guns, even though purchasers go through a rigorous background check in compliance with New Jersey law.
“We take pains guns head in the right direction,” he said. Gun buyers are checked at the local, state and federal level and must secure a separate license for each handgun, which are the majority of Just Sports’ gun sales.
Guns weren’t always such a hot item at the sports and hunting shop. Before President Obama’s election, Dunham said, 90 percent of the weapons he sold were related to hunting. But since the gun control debate heated up, people who never thought they’d buy a gun are coming to Just Sports to get one before it’s too late.
“People started to swing over very quickly when they got the tone of the administration,” he said. “We never felt a threat that way in the past.” Because of how strictly gun purchases are already monitored, Dunham says much of the gun control rhetoric is “blowing smoke” since people committing crimes with guns will evade any laws Congress passes. “All the hoopla is really a matter of nonsense, and it’s only infringing on law abiding citizens,” he said.
The anti-gun sentiment and Comcast’s new policy make business harder for Just Sports, but Dunham said he’s motivated by serving local gun owners and standing up for gun rights.
“But our voice is getting fainter and fainter,” he said.
Just Sports is willing to work with anyone who differs from them, as long as they’re not forced to comply with anti-gun policies, Dunham said.
“They can be who they want to be as long as they don’t make me be who they want me to be,” he concluded.