Chico gun range stirs controversy with sign

Dec 18, 2014 1:23 PM by News Staff

Tis the season for giving.

And while Down Range Co-Owner Steve Dyke says some people get toys, some get guns. And one thing Down Range does is assemble guns for sale.

"Some people get firearms," Dyke said. "So and when Santa needs help putting together an AR rifle, we can definitely help him out with that."

Dyke says you can call him and his partner, Will Clark, Santa's little helpers.

Clark encourages you to look closely at the sign (which reads "We build AR's for Santa") they came up with, which has been up for about a week.

"Santa has got his eye protection on, his fingers off the trigger, the guns pointed in a safe direction..." Clark said. "We also have archery. So we almost should have had Mrs. Claus on there with some bows and arrows talking about how she can shoot targets as well."

These guys say the sign is all in good fun, and are simply capitalizing on their Highway 99 location to draw attention to their business, which has been open for six months.

"This is not meant to be offensive in any way. If you need help, if Santa needs help, we're here to help," Dyke said.
"People need to see the humor in it," said Chico resident Shaun Murdock. "It is Christmas time. You know what do they sell? Guns. How are they supposed to advertise?"

But not everyone finds it funny.

Tom Imhoff just thinks it's sad.

"The idea of this symbol of joy and giving holding an assault rifle it's just so contradictory," Imhoff said. "You almost don't know what to do with it."

"I just don't think I would like my son to see Santa holding a gun and having to explain to him that's usually not what's Santa's's presents," said Chico resident and mother of one Brenna Main.

But the point, down range's owners say, is that sometimes guns are presents, and almost all of the time, people aren't going to like what they do.

The owners say the sign is temporary, but it won't be their last.

They say a sign featuring the Easter bunny, and maybe even Cupid, will be next.


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