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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.

From thestate.com:

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 thestate.com:

“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.

Gun Watch

49 Responses to Censorship in Columbia SC, Political Pressure Takes Down Gun Billboard

  1. We’ve raised up an entire generation of sissies in this country. Now these people can’t tolerate looking at photos of firearms? We’re not talking about actual firearms being displayed in the airport. We’re talking photos, for crying out loud. And, it’s just too much for the fragile psyches of these pathetic souls. God help us.

      • Remember the fit that Moms Against Common Sense had over the Danny Deitz statue in Littleton? They don’t like his M4. It might terrify the snowflakes. They wanted a bouquet of daisies instead, I guess.

  2. South Carolina is barely a free state on terms of gun rights. They are one of the last that still ban open carry and their concealed carry laws are atrocious. It’s one of the reasons (other than just terrible people in general) I left the state and do not plan on returning. My AZ permit was not valid there but the moment I moved back to AZ it magically became valid again.

    • Hey now! Our concealed carry laws aren’t that bad; reciprocity sucks, but the rest of it is fine. Shall issue, can carry in a place that serves alcohol.

      As for the people, there are a lot of shitty Carolina fans in certain areas of the state.

      • The reciprocity thing has gotten a little better. My Georgia permit now works there which is a good thing as I just had relatives move to the state and it would be nice to visit.

        on the subject of the billboard, there are snowflakes everywhere and if they are forced to confront things they have irrational fears of, they will always whine. Government types will almost always fold in the face of the whiners, it is what they do best.

      • Being a Clemson fan, I can second the comment about Carolina fans. They are obnoxious whether they win or lose. I think the loudest and most in-your-face fans have never gone to Carolina and/or have no direct connection. I freely admit that some folks have to go to Carolina since there are only so many people who can be accepted each year at Clemson.

        Getting back on topic, one of the main roadblocks to open carry in SC (senator Larry Martin) was successfully primaried last month. Hopefully, that will open up the way to better gun laws. Not everything went our way, one of the most pro-gun SC senators, Lee Bright, also lost in the primary. It remains to be seen if his replacement with be for or against us.

    • I’ll bet it’s a paradise to New York state where I’m at right now. Is S.C. really that bad? I was looking to that as a state to possibly move to as a free state.

  3. Interesting, it is the “guns are unclean” angle. No wonder these liberals desire to get along with political Islamists so badly –they’re identical.

  4. This is a blatant act of censorship of political speech. Political speech that the manufacturer PAID FOR.

    So just think what these leftist anti-liberty weanies will do to you and your family if they are able to take your gun rights.

  5. “I approve of free speech only when it supports my political agenda”–paraphrasing the activist/poet.

    • “We need to have a conversation, and this billboard will not allow that to happen.” Uh..you’re talking about it right now, aren’t you, Ms. Poet?

      These people aren’t interested in a conversation. They just want to issue orders.

  6. I’m nearly on the fence here. Imagine a Gay Rights poster of a couple across from a church. However, it’s one of those technical cases that doesn’t really fit in the venue, so wussy people will find the smallest possible reasons to complain.

    Still, we cannot cave in to every demand. Next time, choose a better location, hmm?

      • “Homophobe” is a nasty slur, not a diagnosis. You ought to be ashamed to use it in public or polite company. It recasts someone’s mere disapproval of a second person’s reckless, dangerous lifestyle as the first person having a mental defect. You know, homosexuality itself was consider a mental illness until as recently as the 1970s.

        People who demand diversity and tolerance, really ought to practice it themselves once in a while.

        Besides, anyone with an actual diagnosis of a phobia would avoid or flee whatever the focus of their phobia happens to be. They wouldn’t seek it out and commit violence against it. When’s the last time you heard of a coulrophobiac (and there are many out there, believe it) launch an assault on clowns? So why would a homosexual actually fear attack from a so-called homophobe? It’s an irrational fear, almost to the point of having homophobiaphobia.

        • Jonathan-Houston:

          The Truth has no agenda.

          Anyone who actively works to restrict or remove my (or anyone’s) natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms (for whatever legal reason I/they choose) has demonstrated a phobia to the inanimate object in question – the arms, and more specifically the firearms. While not a diagnosis, it is certainly an indicator of a neurosis, if not a psychosis.

      • Greg: H8rs like you are why I fear for this country, Use your damn head for something. Think before you flap your gums.

    • Imagine a Gay Rights poster of a couple across from a church.

      Well, Tommygun, how about if we imagine a church poster across the street from the HQ of a gay rights group.

      So tell me, is it more uncomfortable when the shoe is on the other foot, or when your foot is in your mouth?

    • If I were FN I would buy, build, rent or lease a larger billboard as close as possible to the main exit of the airport with a video screen not only showing their weapons, but with video clips of our troops using them in combat.

    • How about opening a gay bar, or a pork sausage factory, across the street from a mosque? Should that be prohibited as well?

    • Its a picture, that is all it is. Don’t like, don’t look. The 1st Amendment specifically protects offensive speech.

      They don’t like the message, then put a poster with a counter message. That is the way it should work not censorship.

  7. Pure soap boxing at its finest. These people should be ashamed about beating down other people’s rights.

  8. Given how many FN, as well as Palmetto St Arms employs in SC I would be concerned one or both moving to a more gun friendly state. Ala Beretta.

  9. I bet these morons would not have said a world if that ad was for MDA depicting a child being shot in the face (gore and all).

    Yet a picture of a scary looking gun is obsene.

  10. I bet these morons would not have said a damn word if that ad was for MDA depicting a child being shot in the face (gore and all).

    Yet a picture of a scary looking gun is obsene.

  11. OOOOOH…that’s so obscene. Love me some gun porn. Contrast THAT with the signs in Indiana advertising my favorite gun shop-Blythes in Griffith. And it’s not the only gun shop/gun advertised. Anyone remember the hissy fit of the AR poster on the Chicago expressway? Freakin’ nuts…

  12. This reminds me of a sign I saw in front of a sporting goods store in Juneau, Alaska on the way into town from the airport. They were advertising “Ruger Industrial Strength Bear Repellent”.

  13. No offense to South Carolinians, but the fact that FN manufacturing happens there is the only thing I know about your state. My reaction to that billboard would be “oh, right, do they do factory tours?”

    • BMW and Boeing are here, some great football and baseball teams, Ft.Sumter and the USS Yorktown also…there are plenty of free outdoor ranges and a lot of indoor ranges popping up all over the state. SC has made a lot of changes the past few years but it’s coming along slowly

      • BMW and Boeing are there for one reason and one reason only:

        SC is a right-to-work state and those companies can go about doing what they do very well without the crap that unions bring with them…

  14. Since hopefully we are all adults here. Yes I would agree that the billboard was obscene. Hell I got erect just thinking about it, and my gun toting wife admitted she got much more than a little lubricated seeing the ad as well. So she asked me to launch a preemptive strike and I marched into friendly territory with as much force as this old soldier could muster, and fired my Nato approved biological weapon. My wife with her ankles still behind her neck, smiled and advised that I had definitely hit the target and inquired how long it would be until I could reload. I searched and found a magic bullet button and we made the night of it.

    Going to write to the manufacturer and see if we can get a copy of the ad for our bedroom wall!

  15. Is the airport a private-sector operation or government? Remember, the First Amendment protects political and offensive speech from being banned by the government, not by private entities. If the city government for example decided to ban FN’s advertisement from the airport, then yes, that would be a direct First Amendment violation. Also, being that the Bill of Rights was only written to satisfy the anti-Federalists, as the Federalists saw it as unnecessary, one could say that the government has no authority to infringe on speech, even without a First Amendment.

    But a private-sector operation is different. I don’t know if the airport constitutes a private operation or is it government owned and operated, but if it is a private operation, I believe they can restrict speech as they please.

    That said, the desire to censor the ad, whether legal or not, shows the lack of interest in free speech anti’s have when it’s speech they don’t like.

    • Its certainly largely funded by the FAA and controlled by a variety of Fed agencies. Their involvement, in the age of Obumer, is not likely to be a positive.

  16. Oh, how South Carolina has fallen. The state that birthed the War Between the States of states rights, the place I loved when I first got there in 1973, and now they are just another PC drone state. C’mon, free people of South Carolina, get these Liberals under control.

  17. Well, where’s the letter-writing campaign orchestrated by the gun owners’ membership associations?

    Where’s the PR campaign by the chamber of commerce?

    Where’s the jobs & economic activity stats, for this business being made unwelcome?

    Where’s the pre-crafted messaging: apparently these anti-gun folks can’t win under the law, so have are happy to exercise a hecklers’ veto. And the other message: Why do they want to ding our local economy? How many working stiffs are they trying to put out of work?

    “Hey that was mean and wrong.” stop nothing. This is politics. Time to play. A company doing legal business, providing good jobs, producing products that many people want, is being harassed. Let the anti’s own that.

  18. How about a replacement poster put up by FN?
    “We are proud to make a fine product in South Carolina. We had a poster in this place, advertising this fact, but some were offended by it.
    This airport did not have the will or the respect for our company to allow us to exercise our First Amendment Rights and advertise that fact.
    Think about that the next time you choose an airport.
    Thank you.
    F N Manufacturing”

  19. Many corporations advertise their products in airports, I see no issue with FN doing likewise. I would suggest a compromise, change the slogan from “yea, we carry” to something less political such as “we manufacture firearms for military and civilians”.

    As for SC, I’m a transplant from upstate NY, not a fan of much of SC culture but believe SC is spot on with firearm carry laws (would like to see more stringent enforcement). As I write this I am visiting in NY. I have a valid SC CWP but can’t carry or even have a handgun in my vehicle because of NY & NJ laws. It feels like my life and safety are unimportant to NY & NJ politicians.

  20. http://www.handgunlaw.us/states/southcarolina.pdf

    South Carolina sux if it comes to Public Carry (same 4 florida).
    No Open carry and public transportation for the poors is ” off place” white misdeamor charges + draconical force of law in general of every bullshit sign from privat.

    Other shit details as not shall issue for non residents ccw”s and only honoring some residents permits do it s on ……….

    The only good is shall issue ccw, deadly force laws and no tactical weapon limits in nfa section but missing of shall sig and firearm freedom act statement.

    South Carolina and Florida must leran an lot to mess white the golden middel site Georgia.

  21. 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.
    Just because you and your pet monkeys cannot handle freedom and responsibility, does not mean the rest of us can’t.

    • I forgot to add that why do pro 2A people never get to be in on the proposed conversation about gun control?

    • Clearly Indiana is a leader in thought crimes Tom. Look at the avalanche of scorn heaped upon newly minted VP candidate Mike Pence. Gun rights, Christian rights,tax cuts,balanced budget, right to not be screwed by a union and various other sundry “thought crimes”…oh my. Time for another gun from Indiana:)

  22. I suspect that outside of a place like the airport and maybe Charleston after the church shooting, FN or PSA could put a sign like this anywhere else in the state and no one would care. Airport almost for sure is a public authority and should be held accountable for political censorship.

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