Holiday Billboard for Chico Gun Range Shows Santa Holding Gun | NBC Bay Area

Holiday Billboard for Chico Gun Range Shows Santa Holding Gun




    A holiday billboard has fired up a debate in a Northern California city.

    The owners of Down Range shooting range put up a sign outside their business in Chico, depicting Santa Claus holding a gun. The sign reads "We build AR's for Santa."

    The owners of the gun range told NBC affiliate KNVN-TV in Chico that they are Santa's little helpers, and they can fill his orders for AR rifles.

    Down Range co-owner Steve Dyke said in an interview that some people get toys, some get guns.

    "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."

    While one Chico resident said people need to "see the humor in it" others said the sign is in poor taste.

    "I just don't think I would like my son see Santa holding a gun, having to explain to him that's usually not what Santa's holding," one parent said.

    "The idea of this symbol of joy and giving and holding an assault rifle, it's just so contradictory," Chico resident Tom Imhoff told KNVN.

    But the owners of the gun range disagree.

    "Santa has got his eye protection on, his fingers off the trigger, the gun's pointed in a safe direction, so those are the things we want to promote is the safety when people are doing the shooting sports industry," Dyke's partner Will Clark said.

    "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.

    The owners said the sign is temporary, but it will not be their last. A sign featuring the Easter bunny or Cupid may be next.