NASCAR has reportedly banned all advertisements featuring assault weapons due to a "gradual shift" in the company's position on guns.
"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," National Event Publications said in an email to an online gun retailer. "NASCAR is still open to some of the less controversial gun accessories, concealed carry, or classes."
The retailer, K-Var, was attempting to purchase advertising in NASCAR's advertising book for the final 26 races of the year. The publisher of the magazine wrote back earlier this month to say the advertisement had been denied.
NASCAR has relationships with multiple other gun retailers, including Gander Sports and Bass Pro Shops, which sell guns. The Bristol night race is co-sponsored by Bass Pro Shops and the National Rifle Association, the largest gun lobby in the United States.
NASCAR has not issued an official statement on its position, which was relayed through the third-party publisher.
The shift is likely in response to the series of mass shootings in the United States, the majority of which have been committed using assault weapons. This has led for numerous calls for the ban of assault rifles, though no legislation has been introduced.