When a Texas gun store owner bought a billboard promoting a “back to school sale,” he was only trying to thank teachers, not scare them.
"We have friends and family who are teachers and our way of reaching out and saying thank you is by offering a summer long promotion of discounted training courses, firearms, and accessories,” the Boyert Shooting Center, in Katy, Texas, wrote in a statement to local news station KTRK.
The sign reads "BACK TO SCHOOL SALE. AUGUST 13TH-18TH. UP TO 50% OFF FIREARMS.” But in the wake of the El Paso shooting that left 22 people dead at a Walmart — and another massacre a day later in Dayton, Ohio — the messaging read as insensitive to some Texas residents. Some of the El Paso victims, including two newlywed parents, were back to school shopping when they were shot and killed.
"What does back to school have anything to do with getting guns?" Michelle Simons, whose husband is a local teacher, told KTRK. "I hope it was just some kind of glaring oversight. I would rather see any other kind of wording on their board.”
The summer sale, according to the store’s facebook page, has knocked nearly a thousand dollars a semi-automatic .50 caliber gun, which it calls a “beast of a rifle.” The gun has a magazine capacity of 10, compared to the standard 30 rounds of the AR-47 assault rifle used in El Paso.
Even though the El Paso gunman legally purchased the AK-47-style semi-automatic weapon in Texas, the 21-year-old gunman’s mother called the police weeks before the shooting and said she was worried her son had purchased a gun. But the police shut down her complaint because the sale was perfectly legal.
On Monday, ex-military lawmakers called on the House to pass the Assault Weapons Ban of 2019, which would make it a crime for civilians to buying high capacity magazines — which both the El Paso and Dayton shooters used — and weapons designed for war.
The Boyert Shooting Center has a bit of a history of making controversial advertisements after mass shootings.
When Dick’s Sporting Goods decided to stop selling semi-automatic weapons following the Parkland school shooting in February, 2018, the center touted on its marquee, "We're not all Dicks. We still sell ARs."
Cover image: From left, Melody Stout, Hannah Payan, Aaliyah Alba, Sherie Gramlich and Laura Barrios comfort each other during a vigil for victims of the shooting Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. A young gunman opened fire in an El Paso, Texas, shopping area during the busy back-to-school season, leaving multiple people dead and more than two dozen injured. (AP Photo/John Locher)