Comcast bans gun and ammunition advertisements

Three months after the Sandyhook Elementary School massacre, the nation's largest cable provider has banned all gun advertisements.

Comcast, which operates in 39 states including Indiana and Michigan, recently made the blanket directive after finalizing a purchase with NBC Universal. However, it's by no means the first cable provider to enforce such a restriction.

Cox Communications, the nation's third largest provider, has long had weapons restrictions in place. In January, Time Warner Cable announced it too would ban ads featuring semi-automatic weapons and commercials with guns aimed at people.

While gun control advocates are applauding the media mogul for its sharp stance, local gun store owners aren't as enthusiastic.

"Personally I have no problem with Comcast cable deciding they don't want to have firearm or ammunition ads on their airwaves. That's their right as a privately owned business. At the same time, as consumers, we need to educate ourselves and spend our money with the companies that share our same values,” Midwest Gun Exchange general manager Brad Rupert said.

Rupert says although the Mishawaka retailer has done business with Comcast in the past, he’s confident they can still effectively communicate their message elsewhere.

"We do a lot of direct mailers, emails, Facebook and other social media. At the same time when we have a special event, we're looking to television and radio stations to do some of our advertising. So from now on I'll just buy local,” Rupert added.

In a statement released Tuesday to NewsCenter 16, a Comcast spokesperson said:

"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."

The vast majority of what you see on WNDU-TV will not be affected by the Comcast change as Channel 16 is only affiliated with Comcast, meaning it is not bound by its advertisement directives.

"WNDU is not owned by Comcast, we are owned by Gray Television. The commercials, and the decision as to who we sell those commercials to, are decisions that are made locally,” WNDU-TV general manager John O’Brien said.

What’s unknown: how much money will Comcast stand to gain or lose by the bold move?

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