Gun store promotes ‘not guilty’ sale after Rittenhouse acquittal
CONROE, Texas (KPRC) - A Texas gun store and shooting range is facing criticism following a text message to customers announcing a “not guilty” sale after Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted.
The Saddle River Range sent a text to customers early Saturday morning saying the large holiday sale would start later that day and last until Thanksgiving. The sale includes deals on firearms, optics, bags and gun parts, among other items.
The decision to promote the sale using an image of Rittenhouse was met with mixed emotions. The 18-year-old was acquitted Friday on charges stemming from killing two men and wounding another during the unrest that followed the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, by a white police officer last year.
“We celebrated the acquittal from a Second Amendment standpoint and a right to defend yourself point,” said Saddle River Range owner Thomas Bolsch. “We did not celebrate and do not celebrate the loss of life.”
Longtime customer Austin Mack says he doesn’t understand why people were offended.
But another customer wrote on the store’s Instagram page, “I really respect this store. I purchased my first gun from you all. But as a young Black male, also a young business owner, this does not give me confidence in the justice system, and I don’t like the fact you all are capitalizing on a situation that is still so fresh.”
Despite some negative feedback, Bolsch says most customers were supportive and positive. He says he stands by his message and had no bad intentions.
“I wouldn’t change a thing,” he said.
Dr. James Dixon, the president of the NAACP Houston Branch, says he understands the need for business owners to promote sales and try to make money but cautioned that it could also divide the community further.
“It cannot be lost that they were protesting the unjust shooting of a young African American man by the name of Jacob Blake, so the tone of the nation has turned in a bad direction,” Dixon said. “I think it would behoove all of us to be sensitive to the messages we send forth.”
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