Two separate Santa-themed pro-gun ads are being criticized for mixing firearms and the holiday spirit, one over a billboard outside Chico, California and the other on the Canadian National Firearms Association Facebook page.
The billboard, put up by the Down Range Indoor Training Center, shows a gruff-looking Santa in black shades holding up an even blacker rifle and reads “We build AR’s [sic] for Santa.” While the ad has its critics, range co-owner Steve Dyke said the feedback has been mostly positive.
“Well, you know, some people get toys and stuff like that for Christmas. Other people, when I was growing up, I got guns from Santa Claus. I mean, it’s just a matter of where you’re from,” Dyke told CBS Sacremento.
“Obviously, Santa Claus is synonymous with Christmas,” he said. “We actually thought got a kick out of it — thought it would be good and other people would think it was funny.”
Meanwhile online the Canadian National Firearms Association is taking heat for its Santa-based promise of AR-15 cheer on Facebook. The gun rights organization put up a classic-looking portrait of Santa handing a very happy boy a rifle with the classic warning, “Don’t shoot your eye out, kid!”
The campaign struck a nerve with Canadians who saw the picture as irresponsible, not just because it’s Santa giving guns to a kid but also because in Canada, the AR-15 is a restricted firearm.
Like with Down Range the National Firearms Association received praise in addition to scorn with comments including “I don’t see a problem — we hid behind our skirts too long — we already know the anti-firearms people are going to go after law abiding gun owners no matter what we say. Might as well have some fun with it and stick a thumb in their eye along the way,” The Province reports.