« Back to Posts


Should There Be Gun Ads on TV?

TV has a gun problem of its own. Not the violence on CSI, that’s whatever. We’re used to that. Not the hunting channel, where animals get stalked and killed and dudes with awesome beards show off for other dudes at home scratching their beards. That’s hardly a problem. I’m talking more about where to draw the line when it comes to advertising.

Here’s the thing, the FCC will regulate everyone’s ability to hear a “curse” word on TV, and God-given female nipples are banned as “inappropriate and pornographic”. But we’ll allow lots of killing and blood to be shed, that’s just “action”! Now personally, I would allow it all, because imagination needs a place to go and be shared and there is nothing shameful about human bodies.

And of course I’m not on the FCC or FTC. But if I were, one thing I would really struggle with is advertising the sales of guns. On the one hand, there are old fashioned rifles, used for hunting deer. Just like what you see on hunting shows, a notch up from a bow and arrow. Seems innocuous, really. Rifles advertised on a hunting show, no big deal. Like a fishing rod on a fishing show? Perhaps.

And then there are ads like this where the idea is clear, this machine is for fucking some shit up:

Arguably, the NRA has every right to generate support for the Second Amendment and take out ads, like this one below, as would any other organization. You can argue that they take the mass shooting issue “head on” in this, I would say they leveraged it to generate donations, but regardless, this seems largely an uncontested right.

courtesy iSpot.tv the TV attribution company


Now the FTC /FCC allows ads for gambling, but not cigarettes. It’s fine with sugary cereals “They’re GRRREAT!”, and sodas that make us chubby-chubsters, and beer because, what is America without beer? And insurance companies that squeeze us without so much as a disclaimer? Fine, I guess so long as they have jingles.

But drug ads need huge, long and weird disclaimers that include terms like “may include vomiting and sudden death” and now pricing display on ads is required. Ah see, government can make some actions (even if they can’t stop the opiate epidemic). But what about gun ads like that one? Not so much.

Like so many things, the gun lines are tough to figure out. That’s why we have voters and regulatory bodies, to sort through that stuff and draw a line between acceptable and not. (Naive?)

Let’s play this out a bit more beyond TV.

On the one hand, people want to harvest animals grazing in the wild, that live only on rain water and grass. It helps the (elk or deer) populations flourish when done correctly. And these hunters, they tend to care for and protect the environment more than the plastic-water-bottle-chugging, jet-plane-jumping snots who judge them from ivory towers. On the other hand whoever “needs” a semi-automatic, RIGHT NOW?? No one. Really. EVER.

I saw an Instagram post that summed it all up for me; comparing the swift and decisive action against romaine lettuce after a few people got sick to the semi-automatic weapon-fueled recurring nightmare we have on our hands now.

Credit https://www.slyngstadcartoons.com/

You think the FCC and FTC would get some courage and sense on this one? Certainly developing rules for advertising would be the (easy?) step to show the rest of Washington what is possible, quickly.