The media giant Comcast has ordered the National Rifle Association to remove images of firearms from two ads promoting its upcoming gun and outdoors mega-show in Pennsylvania before it will air them, a one-two punch on the First and Second Amendments.
In an email to the NRA, Comcast did not explain why the split-second images of gun displays from inside the Great American Outdoor Show held annually in Harrisburg, Pa. It simply told the nation's leading Second Amendment group to comply.
"The good news is there are just some small tweaks that need to happen in order to run the schedules in all the markets we have set up for the Great American Outdoor Show," said Comcast of the two ads the NRA wants to run in 12 different TV markets in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.
"Both ads submitted yesterday entitled, (Family & Exhibit) will need to remove any and all images of rifles, shooting ranges, and handguns, when this is complete our MCC [control center] department and legal department will evaluate for approval," added Comcast.
Each short ad promoting the huge weeklong outdoors show include five split-second images of display guns or kids shooting at a range.
The show, held February 6-14 in the enormous Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex, is targeted at fans of shooting, fishing and camping. Hundreds of guides and hundreds more equipment suppliers set up show for some 200,000 attendees. The show includes a "Shooting Sports" hall that takes up one third of the space.
"Any way you cut it, the shooting sports are a significant part of the show. Why shouldn't we be allowed to advertise for one of the Great American Outdoor Show's main areas?" said NRA spokesman Kyle Jillson.
"We designed an ad campaign to depict the events, activities, and sights people could expect to see at the Great American Outdoor Show. To remove a crucial aspect of the show from our ads would be a major disservice to people who may be interested in attending. We do not have plans to alter the ads at this time," he added.
The show was already mired in controversy when the mayor Harrisburg demanded money from the NRA before allowing city police to work inside the show. The police were already being paid extra money by the NRA. But the city wanted more and the NRA said no, and instead gave its annual show donation to other area facilities.
The NRA took the show over in 2014 when the previous operator banned AR-15 rifles from it, prompting a walkout by exhibitors and cancellation of the 2013 show.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.