Carolina Gun Ads Cause Christmas Controversy (Oh No! Hide the Children!)

Gun advertisements posted on billboards in both North Carolina and South Carolina are causing quite the stir this holiday season.

A sign in Charlotte that depicts Santa Claus holding a modern sporting rifle with the caption, “Santa knows what you really want,” has — to use the obvious pun — folks up in arms.

“It’s promoting something we don’t want to promote,” Ken Stow, an observer told NBC Charlotte.

Meanwhile, the store responsible for the billboard, Blackstone Shooting Sports, argued that the ad was all in good fun.

“Santa Claus is synonymous with the holiday season,” said store manager Guy Santiago in a statement. “We thought the ad would be amusing and that our customers and potential customers would get a kick out of it.”

Likewise, the Palmetto State Armory in Columbia, S.C., ran into similar criticism for their advertisements, one billboard features a loaded revolver and the caption five “golden rings” and another billboard depicts a suppressed handgun under the caption “Silent Night.”

“We have a right to say what we want and they certainly have a right to put that up. But I also have a right to comment on it, and I did not think it was appropriate, an appropriate use of the image and the words from that song,” Jack Swerling, a local attorney, told

Swerling, a gun owner with a concealed carry license, doesn’t believe Christmas cheer should be co-mingled with firearms.

“I just thought that was totally inappropriate,” Swerling said. “Silent Night is a beautiful song. And I’m Jewish. But I was offended for the Christian community that they would try to make that play on words and images.”

A spokesman for the gun shop defended the ads.

“There’s a lot of people that really enjoy the humor behind the advertisement. And there are some people in our community that don’t necessarily like it. We’ve spoken to them directly. I’ve received calls and I speak to them and you know as a member of the community one of the great things about this country is that everybody is allowed their opinion and we don’t by any means discourage that,” said Adam Ruonala, the company’s marketing officer.

“And we just kind of explain to them that it’s not something that we’re not necessarily trying to tie Christmas and Christ to firearms,” Ruonala continued. “It’s more of people, this is their passion. Hunting. Shooting sports. All kind of things, it’s their passion. And so they have the right just like anybody else to enjoy the specials that we would offer this time of the year when buying is up.”

Is it just me or is everyone offended by everything these days?!!! I mean, our society is so politically correct that even the most innocuous Christmas ads are considered to be disrespectful to one person or another. It’s ridiculous!

Think about what that lawyer said. He, personally, wasn’t even offended really. He was offended for the Christian community? How the heck does that even work? How do you become offended for someone when you’re not even sure whether the individual or, in this case, group is offended?  It appears we’re so eager to be offended by things these days that we’re starting to take offense on behalf of other people!

You know, I often argue that the biggest existential threat to our country is government tyranny. I’d say, not militaristic tyranny, but tyranny from feckless and spendthrift policies that are bankrupting the nation, morally, spiritually and, of course financially. But I may have to change my assessment.

I think what may doom us, after all, is this giant stick up our proverbial keister. Seriously, why is everyone so sensitive? Why can’t people take a joke? Why does a picture of Santa holding a rifle engender so much outrage? I don’t understand it. But what I can tell you is that it’s not good. We’re becoming a nation of humorless wussies! And the reality just might be that we’ll lose ourselves as a people long before the government runs the country into the ground.

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 36 comments… add one }
  • Dittohd December 16, 2015, 2:15 pm

    I am OFFENDED by almost everything that leftist liberals say. They are just morons. I tell everyone to never vote for anyone with a D (demoncrat) next to their name. They are either too stupid to know what that party stands for or are in bed with that leftist views which are destroying my country!

  • R. Stagmer December 13, 2015, 5:57 pm

    I am a minister and I really love Blackstone and how it operates with great professionalism. Their ads are humorous and very appropriate. I support the great training programs and promotions that Blackstone’s offers. Merry Christmas and have a bang up New Year at Blackstone.

  • John Chinn December 13, 2015, 9:55 am

    Damn, that’s bound to get Santa on the “no fly list”!

  • Dr Motown December 13, 2015, 9:12 am

    It’s “promoting something” that I want, Mr Stowe, “observer” to the newspaper….

  • J.smith December 11, 2015, 9:13 pm

    Im sorry for you and your faux offended nature at someone elses rights, you will find sympathy in the dictionary between “sh*# and syphilis”. What happened to being a man in this country? Why are even the older generations of “men” acting like neutured losers? This may seem non-sequitor, but men you better remember where you put your hairy boys and get with the program, this country in every facet and way is under assault. The only way to take over the tribe is to get rid of the men, in mentality or physically. Time to “nut up or shut up”. Get off the football (games are for kids), the barka lounger chair and put down your six pack, we got work to do. You might need to start paying more attention how the world works and getting hep to the program and quit acting faux tough or offended.


  • SSGRick December 11, 2015, 4:09 pm

    Now wait just a minute here. I thought the leftists in this Country HATED Christmas, Santa, Halloween, Easter, the Christian Religion and ALL observations of religious (Christian) holidays? Did I miss something somewhere? Now the LEFTISTS are complaining about Santa sending the wrong message? What message do these leftists want Santa to send?
    What these crybabies need to do is go change their diapers, get a warm bottle of soy and have their mommies rock them to sleep. They obviously need a nap because, they are getting cranky again!

  • Del December 11, 2015, 3:15 pm

    Both the stations mentioned were NBC so Brian Williams must have been to both stores!

  • Greg Reed December 11, 2015, 1:51 pm

    Let’s be accurate here….there is no real connection between Santa and Christ. The current image of Santa is far afield of the Saint Nickolaus origins. The red suited fat man of today is a marketing tool not a religious symbol.

  • William December 11, 2015, 1:25 pm

    Welcome to the United States of the Offended!

  • max hoyle December 11, 2015, 1:06 pm

    Some people are going to bitch about anything! I like it and think its funny!

  • andrew December 11, 2015, 10:57 am

    Really?!? The attorney is a Jew?

  • Steve December 11, 2015, 10:57 am

    Ok so the libtard NEWS media is trashing another pro gun sign. Nothing new here.

  • Steven December 11, 2015, 10:43 am

    Another shit-stirring lawyer sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong, looking to conjure up a lawsuit, for his own financial benefit.

  • The Colonel December 11, 2015, 10:36 am

    As Yoda would say, “Offended you are? Then off you must fuck.”

    • Magic Rooster December 11, 2015, 4:25 pm

      Well spoken sir……Bravo!

  • MSG John Laigaie December 11, 2015, 9:57 am

    I am “offended” that there were not more guns in the ad. You whiners need to grow some hair and get over yourselves. You will all be less whiney after puberty.

  • Ryan S December 11, 2015, 9:50 am

    Yea, but if I, as a Christian, get offended by foul language or homosexuality or sex outside of marriage… Well then I’m just being intolerant of others beliefs and views. But it is perfectly acceptable for everyone else to be offended by my beliefs. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised though. God warned us the world will head toward it’s own destruction before the return of Christ. I also echo the sentiment from another post on here: I chuckle when I hear Christians say how guns aren’t Biblical and are offensive to them. They obviously have never read through Luke 22.

    One more thought on this, “Swerling, a gun owner with a concealed carry license, doesn’t believe Christmas cheer should be co-mingled with firearms.” So it’s wrong to promote self defense of loved ones when there are more parties and large gatherings than any other time of year, but it’s perfectly okay to attend all of these parties and promote and partake it large quantities of alcohol nationwide, when alcohol related deaths account for EIGHT TIMES the amount of deaths per year as Firearm related homicides. I’m not against the occasional drink, but it pisses me off when people bash guns all the time, but a MUCH larger percentage of deaths come from alcohol every year and it’s never mentioned.

    • Dr Z December 11, 2015, 12:03 pm

      Are you sure you are a Christian and not a hidden radical islamic terrorist? Sure your rationalizations are very much similar

  • Abner T December 11, 2015, 9:47 am

    One can always find some fool who’ll be offended at anything.

    Best to just pat them gently on the head and keep walking.

  • Randy December 11, 2015, 9:02 am

    The phrase I seem to use much to often these days is ” The United States Of The Offended ” Feel free to use it when deemed necessary !

  • Mike h December 11, 2015, 8:53 am

    This “i’m offended” nonsense is a bye-product of kids not going outside to play anymore. I’m a member of the last generation where we played outside every day, got hurt, learned things and interacted with people. As a child i got bullied and harassed constantly and i’m glad. I grew thick skin, toughened up and learned to take care of myself. This new generation of “everyone’s special and deserves a trophy” unicorns and rainbows illusion is not helping society at all! Society has become so full of pussies looking for a cause to champion that they’ve resorted to being offended on others’ behalf. What a good problem to have! The only thing that comforts me is when sh*t hits the fan, these weaklings will be the first to starve.

    • EMCSS Dave December 11, 2015, 10:35 am

      I am totally offended that someone should have a “Safe Zone” where they can go to not hear something potentially offensive. I want one to keep me safe from those who are unable to detect humor in any situation! BTW, since it is not possible for 2+2=5 if the student has a good explanation, I don’t want to ride on a plane designed by someone trained this way!

  • Mark December 11, 2015, 7:29 am

    Gentlemen, welcome to the “offensive era” spanning from 2014 to the present, where everyone gets offended at everything. I got a kick out of the billboards.

  • Geezer G December 11, 2015, 7:06 am

    Get a life, folks, and learn to laugh!

  • FedUpExplodingBrain December 11, 2015, 6:46 am


    The ignorant pansies don’t know a disciple of Jesus carried a sword and USED IT to protect JC. cut off a guy’s ear. JC WAS NOT AGAINST WEAPONS! But dont put JC in Christmas, it slows down the buying frenzy and harshes the feel good buzz!

    Oh no! Santa has a gun! I say Santa should be armed, out all night, alone, in all kinds of communities.
    The sheeple want the typical ad with a too-good-looking gay, acting hetro with a porcelain-toothed big-rubber-tit ho.

    Jewish lawyer is offended FOR Christians. WTF
    he feels a need to help strangers? STFU and help at a soup kitchen!

    “Seasons greetings” to all the immature dumb asses with unicorn poop for brains.

    • Kevin December 11, 2015, 9:19 am

      Excellent reply.I would add that Santa was too much.should have been 3 cheering festive is wrong with this country

    • Texaspr3 December 11, 2015, 1:17 pm

      Luke 22:36, as Jesus told his disciples as they were leaving. As you go take your purse, also take your bag, and if you do not have a sword , sell your cloche and buy one.

  • Ricky Wyatt December 11, 2015, 5:55 am

    You can’t convince a liberal that the sky is blue even when they’ve seen it before cause all they see are the clouds. I was told f… U and to f… off when one young lady said everyone in the NRA should die and the only thing I told her to prompt her spews was the NRA was the only thing that has held America together…. Told her one day she will pray an armed neighbor can save her from what is to come.

  • Henri R Helanto December 11, 2015, 5:25 am

    The whole “offended” -hypocrisy is completely out of control. I think I couldn’t say it better myself than Steven Fry put it a while ago:

    “It’s now very common to hear people say, ´i’m rather offended by that.´ As if that gives them certain rights. It’s actually nothing more…than a whine. ´I find that offensive.´ It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. ´I am offended by that.´ Well, so (eff)ing what.”

    • Timbo December 11, 2015, 12:58 pm

      It has a purpose all right! The restriction/infringement of all First Amendment rights of anything considered conservative or pro-Constitutional within our Constitutional Republic! Marxism my friends!

  • Will Drider December 9, 2015, 11:58 pm

    I bet every one of the complaints came from a person or Group that said absolutely nothing about the ISLAMIC MUSLIM TERRORISTS that tore up Paris or San Bernardino! Was that not an offensive act that offended their sensibilities. These misguided people should be relieved they weren’t born when 95% of magazines (youth age too) had pages of firearm advertisments. Hell, you could order surplus guns and have them shipped directly to your house. Bunch of left wing idiots trying to impose their antigun agenda on the public. Put up a gun advertisement billboard with no holiday theme and they will bitch that it corrupts kids and scares people. DO IT!!!

  • BGD December 8, 2015, 11:38 am

    Mr. Ruonala, I couldn’t have said it better myself. People need to get over themselves.

    • KMacK December 11, 2015, 2:43 pm

      Get over themselves? In this day and age, that’s unthinkable! Six-year old spoiled child behavior is now the mark of a thinking adult!
      Add in that most parents became parents LATE in life and see their offspring as an investment. They don’t want that investment jeopardized in any way, shape, or form; and given the News’s current love affair with gun-tragedies, they see guns as threats.
      Welcome to the downside of the Bell Curve.

  • James M. December 8, 2015, 11:34 am

    Guess what I do when offended? I say a few nasty words in my head, and go on. When someone offends my wife? She normally says some nasty words out loud. Someone offends my kids? I tell my girls to let it go. Be the better person. Something offensive on t.v. or radio? Turn the channel. Wow. Hmmm. Looks like we have a nation of whiney little kids that never were raised right. Guess we should all carry belts and start busting some asses. If that doesn’t work, put their nose in the corner and make them stand on one foot. Like I said in another post. Vote for me, President of U.S.A.. I will definitely have
    F.E.M.A. camps open all over the nation. Oh sorry, “reeducation camps”. To teach all the weak how to grow up. And work. Provide for themselves. Grow spines. Deal with conflict. Oh yeah, and how to act when offended. WOW. That would take all the good parents out there to help.

    • John B December 11, 2015, 10:47 am

      I am very offended! Now where’s that damn off switch…

    • Rouge1 December 11, 2015, 1:09 pm

      My brother went to kangaroo court in Scottsdale and told them how corrupt they were and for that was ordered to take 6 months of government re-education or anger management.

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