A painted plywood cut-out of Santa with a cowboy hat and a gun on his belt is causing quite a stir in the town of Turlock.
The Santa is one of many displays that line a Christmas tree lot. Workers said they have been using the same cowboy Santa display for 20 years and have never had a compliant until now.
A woman named Monica Sliva didn't like the idea of Santa packing heat so she asked them to take it down.
”I tried to get the image out of my head all day long and I could not, because Santa is made for love, bringing families together, not carrying weapons,” Sliva told KCRA.
Sliva confronted the workers at the tree lot telling them it sends the wrong message to children.
“It portrays to the kids that it’s OK for Santa to be carrying a gun and therefore it’s OK for them to be carrying a gun,” Sliva said.
“I think it’s pretty crazy, to tell you the truth,” Bobby Vierra said. “I mean, we're just trying to sell trees out here.”
When commotion over the display caused traffic to back up, workers covered the gun on Santa's belt. The display was then temporarily taken down.
Vierra said he feels the attention is unfair. "It's just a Santa," he said. "You know, it's just a cowboy."
But just before closing time the display was put back up, his gun still covered. The owner said he has done nothing wrong, so Santa is back.