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Comcast anti-gun policy smacks of political intimidation

A.W. Peterson Gun Shop
Photo Credit Yelp.com

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The Comcast cable company has come up with an anti-gun policy that sure smacks of discrimination against a constitutionally protected product, and it’s got Lake County Property Appraiser Carey Baker caught up in its web.

As co-owner of a business that bills itself as the oldest gun shop in the United States, Baker was informed recently by a Comcast ad representative that the cable provider is no longer running ads promoting gun sales.

In a February statement, made in the wake of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, the Comcast Spotlight advertising sales division said:

“Consistent with longstanding 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.”

In other words, everyone else is doing it, so how can it be wrong?

“Comcast blacklisted my gun shop and all other gun shops,” Baker, a former Florida senator, told the Orlando Sentinel. “There’s no question this is politically motivated.”

Baker’s shop, the A.W. Peterson Gun Shop in Mount Dora, has advertised with Comcast for more than 20 years. Because cable providers run what amounts to government-sanctioned monopolies, he doesn’t have the option to advertise on another cable provider.

But is there a bigger issue at play here?

Does the A.W. Peterson Gun Shop’s experience signal the beginning of an era when large corporations — many of which have lucrative relationships with the federal government — press their advantage by forcing preferred political views on others?

After all, BizPac Review reported on Thursday that General Electric is quietly cutting off loans to gun shops, even though shop owners had little choice as taxpayers but to finance the 2008 bank rescue program that saved GE billions of dollars, according to the Washington Post.

Where does it stop?

Is your business next if a corporation takes exception to your views on the right to life? Or what if it decides your thoughts on the sanctimony of marriage are misguided?

When the U.S. Senate last week rejected President Obama’s mistaken effort to expand gun control on law-abiding citizens, he vowed to press on. It’s a promise reminiscent of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s comments on ramming Obamacare through Congress:

“We’ll go through the gate. If the gate’s closed, we’ll go over the fence. If the fence is too high, we’ll pole vault in. If that doesn’t work, we’ll parachute in but we’re going to get health care reform passed for the America people.”

As Saul Alinksy likes to say, the ends justify the means. If that means isolating businesses that don’t comply with the prescribed views of the day by strangling their financial resources and cutting off their customer base, so be it.

Tom Tillison


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