NASCAR appears to reject some firearm ads as part of 'gradual shift' on guns
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NASCAR is facing backlash from gun manufacturers and gun rights organizations after reportedly rejecting certain advertisements from weapons manufacturers.

The racing organization rejected the gun advertisements which had been submitted for its souvenir programs earlier this summer, CNN reported Friday, citing advertising vendor National Event Publications.

The vendor, which was hired to solicit ads for the NASCAR program, sent an email to some gun companies in August telling them that the racing organization rejected the ads that depicted “assault-style rifles/sniper rifles,” according to CNN.

"We just heard from NASCAR on a number of gun related ads and unfortunately, due to 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," the advertising vendor said in an email to some gun companies in August.

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"NASCAR is still open to some of the less controversial gun accessories, concealed carry, or classes,” the email added.

News of NASCAR denying the ads was first reported by The Washington Free Beacon.

Lawrence Keane, senior vice president for government and public affairs at the National Shooting Sports Foundation, told CNN he was frustrated with NASCAR’s decision. He added that the trade group has started a “respectful and productive” dialogue with NASCAR.

"I don't know what they hope to accomplish by refusing advertising of a legal product that their fans are interested in purchasing," Keane said. "If this is an attempt at virtue-signaling, they didn't put their blinker on."

The National Rifle Association (NRA) also blasted the racing organization's decision in an online post titled “NASCAR takes a hard left.”

"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," the NRA said in the 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."

Some gun manufacturers have also criticized NASCAR’s move.

David Dolbee, the general manager for K-Var Corp., a large firearm distributor, also had an ad rejected by NASCAR that featured an AK-47 and weapons accessories.

"It's just bad for business," Dolbee told the Free Beacon. "I'm somebody who grew up on NASCAR. My father was a huge fan. So, he of course brought me into the sport as a fan. And you see something with that type of a legacy and heritage, instead of being a sporting organization, try and play politics."

He added to CNN, "They've got the drivers shooting off blanks in the winner's circle. It doesn't make any sense."

NASCAR still appears to have a partnership with other stores that sell weapons, like Gander Outdoors and Bass Pro Shops, according to CNN.

The move comes at the same time as companies like Walmart, CVS, Publix, Target and others have all requested that customers do not openly carry firearms in their stores.

The Hill has reached out to NASCAR for comment.