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Advertising for gun sales?

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Rick ShorrockAdvertising for gun sales?
by on Dec 6, 2008 at 12:10:29 pm

Hey, guys and gals, I got a question: A client of mine who owns a hardware store wants me to make a commercial for his business, and one of the services he wants to highlight is the fact that he now sells guns. All his licenses seem to be in order regarding gun sales, but I would like to know is it legal to advertise on television (I'm in Florida) that he sells firearms? I have enough business that I am wary of losing if I am the one producing an illegal commercial.

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Todd TerryRe: Advertising for gun sales?
by on Dec 6, 2008 at 3:23:56 pm

Well, that's a question for legal media types there in Florida, as the answers could vary.

We've never produced any ourselves, but I know here in our market (neighboring Alabama) I know I have seen commercials for "Joe's Pistol and Pawn Shop", etc., that did feature firearms.

It's good of you to want to advise your client as to the legality of his potential commecial... that's good business.

However, if you're worried about any liability on your part, I think it's safe to say there is little to none. That is, depending on the laws there, even if it is illegal to advertise firearms it's highly improbable that it would be illegal for you to produce a commercial about guns. The culpability would come from airing the commercial, not from producing it. You are not the advertiser, the gun shop is. And you are not the one broadcasting it, the television stations and cable companies are. There's nothing illegal about going into his shop and shooting videotape, or anything unlawful about taking that tape, editing it, and handing it to someone else... which is what you are doing.

Absolute wildest worst-case scenario might be that, say, someone was injured with a firearm and they choose to bring suit against the gun shop... and their wide-reaching attorney decides to also name the broadcaster of the advertising in the suit and maybe the people who produced the ad. Pretty unlikely.

One call to a television station might give you a quick and accurate answer... talk to a sales rep there and ask them. If they don't know the answer, their boss (probably the Local Sales Manager) will. And if they don't, they should.


Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

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David Roth WeissRe: Advertising for gun sales?
by on Dec 6, 2008 at 6:08:45 pm

[Todd Terry] "I know here in our market (neighboring Alabama) I know I have seen commercials for "Joe's Pistol and Pawn Shop", etc., that did feature firearms."

That spot features James Earl Ray, Byron De La Beckwith, and Dick Cheney as satisfied customers.

David Roth Weiss
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.

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Chris BlairRe: Advertising for gun sales?
by on Dec 6, 2008 at 5:08:48 pm

We see ads for gun stores and gun shows all the time in southern Indiana and Kentucky.

Here's one from a gun shop and shooting range in Indianapolis:

And another for a larger gun manufacturer.

I don't know of any laws prohibiting advertising of any sort for firearms, and doing a quick google search turned up nothing for it. I've seen print ads selling Guns at Dick's Sporting Goods, Gander Mountain, Bass Pro Shops, heck..even I doubt there's any law prohibiting TV commercials. And as Todd said, it's doubtful you'd have any liability anyway. It would be like someone walking into the gun shop and slipping on water that spilled from the sink. I doubt the plumber who ran the pipes for that sink would be held liable.

Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN

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Ron GerberRe: Advertising for gun sales?
by on Dec 7, 2008 at 3:54:54 am

As far as I know, there are no regulations in Florida regarding gun advertising. I produced a handfull of commercials this year for one of the larger gun shops in Central Florida and several other in the past. Good luck with the commercial, it seems like gun sales have been going pretty well in the Sunshine State for the past few months.

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Rick ShorrockRe: Advertising for gun sales?
by on Dec 7, 2008 at 11:27:00 pm

Thanks for the input, guys. I forwarded the forum to the hardware store owner so he could see for himself.

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