Sons of Guns kicks off its fourth season tonight, but on shaky ground as the gun debate is hotter than ever and the civilian use of legal explosives is gaining intense scrutiny by federal law enforcement.
In the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, gun-centric shows have become a bit controversial and Discovery, the network that airs Sons of Guns, actually cancelled a similar show American Guns just days after the shooting. However, it’s presumed that American Guns was cancelled because of Sandy Hook. The show ended its second season with lower ratings than it received in its first, according to Deadline.com. Nevertheless, a source who works on Sons of Guns, and asked to not to be identified, worries Sons of Guns will suffer the same fate.
“Discovery … is starting to bow too pressure from people that feel that shows about guns and explosions glorify a “taboo” topic now,” the source told Guns.com.
Sons of Guns is a reality show that follows Red Jacket Firearms, a Louisiana business that makes and sells custom guns. The business is led by owner and founder Will Hayden, and he and his staff have customers come in, sometimes celebrities, who request a specialty item and by the end of the episode the team demonstrates the effectiveness of the item by blowing up a car or something like it. You know, stuff people like to watch.
Because of the nature of the show, and events like Sandy Hook or this week’s Boston Marathon bombing, Discovery hasn’t been airing promos “due to fears of media backlash,” the source said.
“The network has been pulling any promotions that depict guns or explosions, except for a few promos on YouTube,” the source said.
Aside from publishing a press release April 1, Discovery did approve a promo and disclaimer, albeit “24-hours” before the launch of the new season, the source said. Both are available on Youtube and the show’s web page on Discovery’s website.
Guns.com contacted Discovery but did not get an official statement by the time this article went to press.
“This new disclaimer was made to hopefully appease any groups that felt we were being too cavalier with what the show portrays. And the older disclaimers were too lighthearted, and didn’t stress the danger, and precautions that are involved with each episode.”
The disclaimer is to detour anyone from recreating the dangerous demonstrations without the involvement of certified professionals and/or operators acting within the law.
Last month popular Youtuber FPSRussia, whose real name is Kyle Myers, had his home raided by the ATF because he makes money off of videos where he shoots guns and sets off explosives made from the legal compound Tannerite. On top of that, a screenshot of one of his videos was captured and used by the FBI for a unclassified document published in March discussing exploding targets and how terrorists could potentially use them to make IEDs.
Certainly there’s no telling what the future is for Sons of Guns, but one thing is for sure: If people don’t watch it, Discovery will have no reason to run it. It kicks off tonight at 9 p.m. eastern.