Monday, July 18, 2016

Censorship in Columbia SC, Political Pressure Takes Down Gun Billboard

FN Manufacturing rented advertising space in the Columbia, SC Airport. The Richland-Lexington Airport District approved the billboard. It didn't see anything inappropriate about the ad. Twenty percent of the travelers through the airport are soldiers. Then the political pressure started.
Columbia Metropolitan Airport has removed a billboard-sized advertisement of a firearms manufacturer from its concourse.
The decision comes a day after The State newspaper reported the ad, featuring eight firearms from FN Manufacturing, upset some travelers. It touted, “Yeah, we carry.”
“I pulled in the commission, and really, they felt that given the negative feedback that it’d probably be better to bring it down,” said Dan Mann, executive director of the airport.
Politicians and political activists are noted as objecting to the billboard:
Columbia Major Steve Benjamin, who spotted the ad while at the airport Friday morning, said the banner with the multiple firearms wasn’t appropriate given its location.
Anti-Second Amendment activist and poet Nikky Finney chimed in:
Finney said it’s time for all segments of the nation to come together and talk about gun violence. It’s also time to find ways to make the nation a better place for young black people and police officers, she said.
FN’s ad, which was more obscene than insensitive, doesn’t allow that type of conversation to happen, Finney said. She was disappointed the other two ads didn’t come down as well.
"Obscenity" is something that anti-Second Amendment activists have tried to tar images of guns with before. As long as 30 years ago, I read of the anti-rights activists claiming that images of guns were "obscene." It's a clear attempt to circumvent the First Amendment and paint even images of guns as being beyond the pale.

State Senator Marian Kimpson joined the chorus. From
“While legally they may have a right to advertise in the way that they did, it is inappropriate and sends the wrong message as a welcome to our capital city, particularly in light of the recent occurrences of in our nation and state,” said Kimpson, a Columbia native.
The South Carolina representative of the anti-rights group Moms Demand Action approved.
“This ad is really in your face,” Dessau said. “Welcome to South Carolina, we carry these types of weapons that look like military weapons designed to kill a lot of people? It’s not a very welcoming message.”
Dessau is the S.C. chapter leader for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a gun-control group that calls for keeping firearms out of the “wrong hands.” She said she would expect to see a banner like that on a military base. But at the airport was “borderline provocation.”
Dessau could have championed the First Amendment, but she didn't. It appears that the First Amendment is easily sacrificed if it is used to support the Second Amendment.

These sort of attacks on the First Amendment rights of Second Amendment supporters are common. California is being sued for forbidding the image of a handgun outside of gun shops.

Alan Korwin faced a similar issue in Phoenix, when the City took down gun safety signs that they had agreed to and placed at bus stops. He eventually won in court on First Amendment grounds.

Several other cities have attempted to restrict ads for firearms or firearms training. It is straight up censorship through political pressure. The politicians and anti-rights acivists are proclaiming that Second Amendment rights are not legitimate. I don't know if FN will fight this, but they should.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.
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