Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A California gun range is using Santa Claus’ jolly old image to promote firearms.

Down Range Indoor Training Center in the town of Chico recently put up this billboard featuring Santa holding a semi-automatic rifle, CBS 13 reports.

The business was just looking to drum up some attention, co-owner Steve Dyke told The Huffington Post.

“Overall, it’s been overwhelmingly positive,” Dyke said, although he noted that the response has been much larger than anticipated. “It was intended just to turn some heads here locally, but it sort of blew up.”

Dyke also said that he sees no reason why Santa and guns can’t mix.

“I got guns from Santa Claus when I was growing up,” he said. “Some people get toys and some people get firearms. It’s kind of just where you’re from.”

Some locals were less pleased. Teacher Sara Welday told CBS 13 that she thought the billboard made Santa, who also sports dark shades, look “evil.”

The gun industry does a brisk business around the holidays and, like the rest of retail, has a history of using Santa to boost sales.

This year, a Georgia gun store is offering customers the chance to pose with Santa and their favorite firearm. The Scottsdale Gun Club in Arizona ran a similar promotion in 2011 and 2012.

The National Firearms Association, which is the Canadian equivalent of the National Rifle Association, ran an ad this year featuring Santa Claus giving a Windham AR-15 to a young boy. The AR-15 is the same style of rifle used by shooter Adam Lanza in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.

Back in the U.S., the National Retail Federation estimated that sales of firearms will increase by 4 percent during November and December of 2014. On Black Friday, a gun is sold every three seconds, according to the FBI.

Dyke stressed that his billboard is not intended to encourage violence.

“I’ve received some comments that say just because Santa’s holding an AR, that means Santa is saying it’s OK to kill people,” Dyke said. “There is no way that we condone any type of violence against anyone.”
Business News on The Huffington Post

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This year, the HuffPost graphics and data teams did a lot, from visualizing #BlackLivesMatter protests, to finding out how many molecules of Beyoncé’s breathe you breath every day, to a major investigation of hospice care in the U.S. Below we’ve gathered links to our favorite pieces from 2014. Take a look at any you may have missed, and follow us for a daily dose of maps, charts and illustrations.


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